May 12, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau speaks to the media prior to game five of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Tom Thibodeau’s career with the Chicago Bulls ended in a disappointing, messy and discouraging way. This culminated the end of the Thibs’ reign.
There were rumors throughout the season claiming that there was a major rift between Thibodeau and the front office, specifically Gar Forman and John Paxon. Sources claimed that there was a high chance that Thibodeau would be fired if the Bulls didn’t achieve major success this season, and after losing in the second round to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the rumors proved true. But rather than simply announce the firing of Thibs and moving on, Chicago’s front office decided to explain why they believed Thibodeau was no longer the right fit.
Jerry Reinsdorf, Chairman of the Chicago Bulls, claimed that Thibodeau was not open to working with management, and that this hindered the team’s development.
"While the head of each department of the organization must be free to make final decisions regarding his department, there must be free and open interdepartmental discussion and consideration of everyone’s ideas and opinions. These internal discussions must not be considered an invasion of turf, and must remain private. Teams that consistently perform at the highest levels are able to come together and be unified across the organization-staff, players, coaches, management and ownership. When everyone is on the same page, trust develops and teams can grow and succeed together. Unfortunately, there has been a departure from this culture.”"
Needless to say, Thibs wasn’t too happy with the way the Bulls managed his departure. Reinsdorf blamed him for several things such as poor communication and the inability to work well with the other departments. He had very few kind words to say, despite the fact that in his five-year time as head coach, Thibodeau had an overall record of 255-139 (the seventh best winning percentage in NBA history with at least 200 games coached). Under Thibodeau, the Bulls were a defensive, gritty team, and they made it to the Eastern Conference Finals once in 2011. The goal and expectation for Chicago was to win an NBA championship at least once. However, when the Bulls got close to reaching the Finals, some injury or team collapse found a way to diminish Chicago’s chances, not to mention the challenge of having to go through LeBron James every year.
According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, Thibodeau was offended in the way the Bulls handled his firing, but he still was appreciative of his time in Chicago.
"“Several confidants of Thibodeau have encouraged him to take next season off, collect his Bulls salary and survey potential jobs for the 2016-17 season. According to three people who spoke to Thibodeau, Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf’s stinging statement on his firing hurt but otherwise he sounded buoyed and optimistic about his future.One Thibodeau confidant even said he talked appreciatively about his five-year run in Chicago, a city in which he loved to coach with a roster he also admired.”"
As mentioned above, it’s looking more and more likely that Thibodeau will not be a coach next season. He reportedly has little to no interest in coaching the Denver Nuggets, the last team in the NBA with a head coaching vacancy.
How should Thibodeau feel about the way the Bulls managed his firing? Who do you think he will end up coaching for?
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