On Thursday, Bulls management fired head coach Tom Thibodeau. In doing so, took personal shots, including this statement from owner Jerry Reinsdorf. The relationship between the coach and upper management was the worst kept secret in the NBA, especially over the last 10 months.
Coaches come and go all the time. The Bulls however, don’t exactly have the greatest record when it comes to firing them. At some point, you have to take a look at who is doing the hiring. Team president John Paxson, has handpicked 3 coaches now, one quit on him, one he got into a physical altercation with, and Thibs had to be fired because of a volatile relationship that has been soured since they forced assistant Ron Adams out the door. Adams was Thibodeau’s second in command and good friend.
Word on the street was that Thib’s act was wearing thin on the players. A sad state of affairs. He leaves with a 259-135 record, second only to Phil Jackson over the last 20 years. Through this time Derrick Rose has been injured for whopping 248 of those games.
Regular season doesn’t mean that much in today’s NBA, and personalities will clash over time, still no reason to belittle a man, and diminish what he has done in his tenure.
Thib’s was responsible for developing Taj Gibson, Derrick Rose, Jokim Noah, Jimmy Butler. Rookie Nikola Mirotic had a pretty solid season in his first year as well.
The failures of the Bulls the last few years had more to do with bad luck and soft players than it did with a breakdown in communication or bad coaching. Certainly the front office has to be accountable for it’s part. We will never know all the “he said, she said” and infighting that went a long with the deterioration of this relationship. One thing we do know is there was a whole lot of wasted opportunity. Nothing exemplified that more than the series with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The last series Thibs would coach.
I expected more from the Bulls and from coach Tom Thibodeau, but I also expected more of management when they fired the coach. Reinsdorf has been a classy owner and brought 6 championships to Chicago. He is better than this. The Bulls will now be compared to the San Francisco 49ers, who notoriously jettisoned Jim Harbaugh after the 2014 season came to an end. I suppose you can chalk it up to coaches who burn twice as bright, last half as long. Hopefully both parties can learn from this. John Paxson and Gar Forman have little room to err going forward. The only real success they had came under the coaching of Tom Thibodeau, and he just got sent away with 9 million dollars.