Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau would like to stay with team under right circumstances
Tom Thibodeau is still the head coach of the Chicago Bulls despite the near universal conclusion that he won’t be come training camp 2015. A source close to the team says even though “the horse is out of the barn” Thibodeau would be willing to return to the Bulls under “the right circumstances.” Thibodeau still loves Chicago, has a great rapport with Derrick Rose and believes the Bulls are capable of challenging for a championship next season. The source says that Thibodeau would be open to a mea culpa meeting where both sides come to an understanding but believes “that will never happen.”
The Bulls season has been over for one week and all is still quiet on the Tom Thibodeau front. New Orleans may be interested, but have reportedly met with Golden State assistant coach Alvin Gentry. Orlando is really interested, prepared to offer Thibodeau a huge raise and more control with player personal decisions. Both of those are perhaps intriguing options for Thibodeau.
Many believe the friction between Thibodeau and Bulls management ultimately led to the downfall of the team. This was evident in this year’s Bulls Game 6 Conference Semifinals loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Down 14 to start the second half, the Bulls never mounted a run and looked like the splintered team they were.
After the game, Thibodeau pointed out once again how little the Bulls staters had actually played together both on and off the court,
"“Our starters played in 20 games and less practices than that. It’s a credit to them that we were able to do what we did.”"
According to the source the Bulls were “never together” this season. Players saw healthy players sitting out both games and practices which led to the team “playing for themselves and not for each other.” More circumstantial evidence of the team wide friction was on display in Game 6 when Rose was not aggressive and Jimmy Butler left the locker room without talking to reporters. There is a feeling that the emerging Butler may now view himself as a number one option more so than a running mate to Rose. However, these things are common in the NBA and Rose has always been a get-along, “can play with anyone” guy, so future impact should be minimal if anything at all.
Speculation about Thibodeau being traded is just that. There is a feeling amongst insiders that Thibodeau will “not allow himself to be traded” to help the Bulls and will wait to be fired even if it means waiting and missing out on the current openings. Many jobs are expected to be open after next season including the Los Angeles Lakers, Charlotte Hornets, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers and the Dallas Mavericks.
The Bulls roster is likely to undergo a transformation. Taj Gibson could be traded to make room for Niko Mirotic, while Mike Dunleavy may not be re-signed to open minutes for both Tony Snell and Doug McDermott. The Bulls were 9-10 when Dunleavy was out of the line-up last year.
Bulls management has long been rumored to covet current Iowa State head coach and former Bull Fred Hoiberg. Hoiberg though just had a heart procedure and may not want to leave the college life and his Ames, Iowa family lifestyle. Orlando is also reportedly interested.
If Hoiberg turns the Bulls down, would Bulls management consider reuniting with Thibodeau? Highly unlikely, but Thibodeau did say “until they tell me I’m not, I expect to be here.” The drama could play out for a while longer as both sides dig in.