Over the past two seasons with the Chicago Bulls, John Lucas III developed a close relationship with Tom Thibodeau. Lucas finally found an NBA role playing under Thibodeau after bouncing around several professional leagues.

“I have the utmost respect for coach Thibs,” Lucas told RealGM in a phone interview on Sunday.

Like many of his former Bulls' teammates, Lucas has been puzzled that Thibodeau remains without a contract beyond the 12-13 season despite leading Chicago to the best overall record over the past two seasons. The Bulls picked up the team option for the 12-13 season on Thibodeau’s deal, but the two sides have not made progress in extension negotiations this summer. And even so, Lucas believes that Thibodeau is going to continue to treat his lack of a new deal as a non-issue and will ultimately receive the contract he’s earned.

“He’s one of the best coaches in the league and like he always says, ‘Don’t get caught up in situations, just come out and play your heart out,’” Lucas said. “I know eventually he’s going to get what he deserves to get. It just depends on when the Bulls are going to do it.

“You don’t want to let a guy like that go.”