There’s firings, and then there’s what the Chicago Bulls organization did and continues to do to Tom Thibodeau. The team fired Thibodeau on Thursday morning, bringing an end to the most toxic front-office-coach dynamic in the league.
Everyone knew the parting of Thibodeau and the team was coming. It had been widely reported pretty much everywhere. Watching Michael Wilbon discuss the Thibodeau situation this season on Pardon the Interruption was like listening to someone who knows their parents are getting a divorce and doesn’t understand why.
Irreconcilable differences is the common divorce term. The team and Thibodeau just couldn’t figure it out, and like most couples heading for a divorce, they pretty much hated one another by the end of it.
So, Thursday came and Thibodeau was out, under circumstances even more officially contentious than anyone anticipated. And now comes word from Dan Bernstein of CBSChicago.com that further twists the knife.
#Bulls sources: at least three starters ripped Thibs in exit interview, said they’d avoid team facility this summer if he were still there.
Everyone knows Thibodeau is a tough coach, and it was clear at the end of the season that the team needed a fresh start, but the pile-on by the Bulls is still completely unnecessary.
As far as the three starters who might have ripped Thibodeau, who really knows who they are? It could be Joakim Noah, a player who Thibodeau has played heavy minutes for years and might have left him a shell of himself. It could be Derrick Rose, a player who has been vocal about a healthy NBA afterlife and no longer trusts Thibodeau with his body and ability to limit his minutes. It could be Pau Gasol, who had a bumpy season getting used to the Thibodeau way.
It really doesn’t matter who might have said those things. The Bulls organization finally got what it wanted by ousting Thibodeau, and can now turn its eyes to the guy it seemed to be after all season, Fred Hoiberg.
Of course, the Bulls organization would be wise to remember the last time the team jettisoned a winning coach for an upcoming college coach. The year was 1999, and the coach was Tim Floyd. How did that work out?