Another day, another talk about Thibodeau

Another day, another talk about Thibodeau

K.C. Johnson published this piece last night, and there are some intriguing nuggets in there.

For example, interest in Thibodeau overall, seems to be diminishing.

With so many agendas and points of view available, it can be tough separating fact from fiction. But this is indisputable: The Clippers gave the Celtics a future first-round pick for Doc Rivers' services in June 2013. And it's well-known throughout the NBA that if a team asked for permission to interview Thibodeau, who has two years left on his deal, the Bulls would grant it.

Thus, the fact no team has asked the Bulls to speak to Thibodeau suggests his outside options are dwindling.

It is highly interesting that no team has shown interest in Thibodeau, especially given his successful history. Sure, it could be a wait-and-see approach, but with the draft less than a month away, it looks increasingly likely that teams just aren't that into the Thibster.


(Sorry. Couldn't resist.)

So how does the lack of interest affect the Bulls?

First off, it looks like they can get forget expecting any sort of compensation. Teams less inclined to ask for an interview, which comes with no strings attached seeing as no one has to make Thibs a job offer, are also less inclined to be willing to offer anything for him outside of whatever salary they're prepared to offer him anyway.

So why is that?

One thing could be that several teams in the league have successfully copied Thibodeau's defensive schemes in recent years, and thus, the actual source for the league's overall improved defense is no longer of major interest. It doesn't matter who started the revolution. It matters only who finishes it.

Additionally, teams could be scared off by his lack of offensive insights, as well as his tendency to let practices run for well over two hours. This doesn't sit well with most NBA players, now including the Bulls themselves.

And finally, teams could be scared off by the drama. This thing has been going on for years, with reports sporadically popping up here and there. It'd make sense if teams fear the Thibodea-Van Gundy relationship, seeing as Thibs would have a speaker on his behalf, who reaches an international audience. Granted, Bulls mangement didn't help in that regard in lovering the drama, so they only have themselves to thank for the degree of which it's risen, and how teams now view the situation.

It's an interesting turn of events, but not one that will benefit the Bulls a whole lot. They obviously prefer compensation - who wouldn't? - but if the market for Thibodeau isn't there, they can't force it.

The question now is, is it time to just fire Thibodeau, hire his replacement, and move on as soon as possible? As mentioned, the draft is coming up in less than a month, and having a coach involved in that process is a big bonus, so he'll have input into choosing a player he'll coach later on.

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    I don´t see why the new coach can´t give input on the draft just because Thibs isn´t fired yet. Surely they can talk "off the record" to him.

  • Initially I thought Thibs had value around the league especially considering all the rumors that floating around and maybe there was but only not to the extent of giving up a pick. The problem with the Bulls and Chicago sports in general is that fans and the media has a tendency to overrate their teams. They fall into this statistical vortex and say to themselves as long as the stats can back it up then it must be true. Statistically the Bulls had a good season. The won 50 games, advanced to the second round, won 2 games against Cleveland while Atlanta the top team in the east got swept. But if you watched any of the games throughout this season you would see a totally different story played out. In fact at times the bulls were downright hard to watch and the games were ugly. They struggled even against the likes of the Magic, Sixers, Pacers, kings, Jazz, etc. every game was a grind. They do have their reasons; one of them was injuries as is the case every year, another was chemistry which is a direct result from all the injuries, but the biggest in my opinion is a lack of identity which stems from both injuries and chemistry. It's like they never figured out who they wanted to be. One day they would be laser focused on offense, and the next lackadaisical. Another time it would seem like their finally starting to jell defensively then the next lackadaisical. Out of the 32 losses this season I'd say more than half were lost in the 1st quarter alone.

    Unfortunately for Thibs being the coach the blame will always fall on the coach but this season he made it easy to blame him. Again statistically he has been very successful this season. If you were to read any media driven article they're always quick to point that out for example, "As a defensive innovator who changed the league, won coach of the year and has a 65 percent career winning percentage -- decimal points behind Red Auerbach -- Thibodeau trails only Phil Jackson as the best coach in Chicago Bulls history. The defense-first, selfless and tough-as-nails Bulls have an identity that matters for the first time since MJ left." ( ESPN ) While that is true to an extent that has nothing to do with what transpired this season. Thibs has some serious flaws and that would be okay as nobody is perfect but the problem is that he's unwilling to evolve. I think the saying, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks," applies perfectly with Thibs. I just don't see the point in playing Jimmy Butler and even Loul Deng so many minutes during the regular season risking injury and long term health effects. Even when Deng was signed with Cleveland a report said, "From a physical, when we got him, Chicago had run him into the ground." that's all Thibs doing and I could imagine Butler ending up even worse with any longevity playing under Thibs. Then there's the rotations with hinrich and more Hinrich, and the starting lineup of Noah and Gasol, etc. I can go on and on but I'm gonna stop here. The point that I'm trying to make is that teams are fully aware of Thibs and the playoffs were the icing on the cake.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    For the record I don't think Thibs is the only one at fault. I think that front office should have their feet to the fire as well but that's another topic.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    You are correct!

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    Not that I disagree with you but when have Bulls wins ever not been ugly? All our successful seasons (post Jordan era) have been defensive grinder seasons with possible exception of this year which was more manic than one I can ever remember. I am a Thibs fan he took a couple utterly terrible squads and pushed for number one seeds.

    Perhaps he just a supped up point A to B coach but he has been great during his time here including overseeing the development of several youngsters. That said at this point I see no good can come of this relationship continuing it looked like everyone involved is done. Thibs just didn't seem to have the passion. I think GarPax has drained it from him as they do with every coach they hire. I just wish Paxson would try to choke Thibs like he did Vinny because he would get his ass stomped!

  • In reply to Chad:

    "I just wish Paxson would try to choke Thibs like he did Vinny because he would get his ass stomped!"

    Now that would be a fight I'd pay money to see. It would take a crane to break that up. And I wouldn't be so sure Thibs would win that scuffle. I don't know where it comes from maybe it's in his genes, but John Paxson has a lot of pent up rage, especially when things doesn't go his way.

  • In reply to Chad:

    The only squads that pushed for the number 1 seed were the 2 that actually made it, the first 2, hard to call either one of those "utterly horrible" with pre injury/MVP Rose and young(healthy/athletic) Noah and Gibson as well as Deng in his prime, whatever that was worth(as well as boozer having his Gasol years). The other squads were mediocre overachievers going nowhere.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    I don't think Chicago overrated its coach in this situation, but don't mistake me, the majority of Chicago fans(and fans of any team) tend to overrate their own, no doubt about it. I think it's pretty plain and clear as to why the interest in Thibs around the league has dwindled. If you were to rewind back to a year ago from today, and start shopping Thibs around I think you'd find a hell of a lot more interest. A year ago, Thibs had just, once again, finished a season in which he coached an undermanned team to win way more games than it should have. Thibs had just watched one of his biggest disciples in Noah win DPOY. At that point, the smoke emanating from the Thibs/GarPax relationship hadn't yet reached the nostrils of national consciousness. Think about the difference between that month of May in 2014, vs this month of May in 2015. Today, Thibs has just overseen a season in which his team won LESS games than expected for the first time in his career. Today, Thibs has just coached a team that completely crapped themselves and missed a massive opportunity to beat Lebron. Today, the issues between Thibs and the Bulls FO are well known, nationwide. So I don't think it's that we overrated Thibs over the course of his time here, the mistake was in underrating the effect events of the past 2 months would have on how front offices around the league view him. He's literally just had the least successful year of coaching on his HC resume. If I'm Thibs I take the NO job or no job at all this offseason. Assuming that doesn't happen, and it looks like it wont, he'll be best served sitting out a year. Over time, the way he's viewed will shift away from a lens of "what happened this year" towards a lens of "what happened over the course of 5 years as a head coach". The latter is much more beneficial for Thibs than the former. Thibs not garnering a trade hurts the Bulls, but Thibs sitting out a year before taking another NBA job hurts the Bulls even more; since his salary would be partially null and void in the event that he holds another NBA head coaching job.

  • In reply to Chicagosportsguru:

    I didn't mean Thibs was overrated. I meant that the media and fans overrated the Bulls as a team in general. All the talk about championship contenders was completely overblown in my opinion. The Bulls showed signs all season long they weren't ready starting all the way back at the beginning of the season when both Rose and Noah was coming back from knee surgeries. People just had their expectations set a little too high. I actually think the Bulls did a pretty good job and at least met my expectations all things considered. All the way up till this season I thought Thibs did a fantastic job working as best he could with what he had to work with. This season not so much. Maybe it was the rift between him and the front office, maybe it was losing John Adams that messed up his coaching chemistry, maybe the team itself really gave up on him the way it appeared against the Cavs, it could be something else or even all the above. There is also the possibility that the front office really said something that personally offended his character behind closed doors. After the Vinny Del Negro situation I don't dismiss anything anymore. One thing is for certain, whats done is done and something has to change. I'm also worried that Thibs will sit out a year because he's just stubborn enough to do it. Honestly i think the best case scenario though not the most popular would be if they all could just bury the hatchet and start fresh. However it seems this relationship really is broken beyond repair because I have a hard time seeing Thibs or GarPax taking the first step towards any reconciliation.

  • One key question is why did it take Thibs so long to get a job in the first place? Assistants on winning teams are typically sought after. He'd be a renown top assistant and defensive guru for years. Doc Rivers endorsed him as a head coaching candidate. My guess is Thibs already had a reputation of being stubborn and difficult which has borne out in his time with the Bulls, despite his regular season success.

    As for what to do now... if Hoiberg wants the job, give it to him. If not? Best move might be to stick with Thibs, difficult as that may be.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Keeping Thibs would just waste more player development. If necessary, promote in house for the new HC. Then find a great assistant to hire.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    The worst move would be to stick with Thibs. I can't imagine going through another season like this.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    No, the worst move would be to fire Thibs and not have an able coach ready to replace him.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    If the Bulls don't already have a new coach lined up (Hoiberg?) then GarPax should be fired for malpractice for letting things get to this point.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I could be mistaken, but I believe Thibs was offered multiple jobs in the years prior to taking the Bulls job. He turned them down because he didn't think they were good opportunities to win. Plus there's the fact that guys who didn't play in the NBA have a much harder time getting head coaching jobs. The Van Gundys, Thibs, Spoelstra, and a few others?

  • In reply to Roman F:

    If I recall, despite Doc's endorsing him, there was friction there also, so you are probably on to something.

  • A couple points.

    At best the Bulls could have gotten a 2nd rounder for Thibs. There was no way any team would give up a first rounder for him. So I don't view this as a loss as who cares about a 2nd round pick?

    While Thibs has been a great regular season coach (except for this year) he has been a mediocre post-season coach at best. His post-season record with the Bulls? 4-5. Remember, a team can only lose one post-season series each year so even a .500 record in the post-season is only ok and he couldn't quite reach that level of mediocrity. I know Rose was out over the course of 3 years of playoffs, but even taking that into account I think the playoff performance of the Bulls during his tenure has been spotty.

    How many playoff series would we say that Bulls exceeded expectations? The Brooklyn series is the only one that comes to mind. Conversely, there were a few series where the Bulls underperformed relative to expectations.

    Now is this his fault or that of the players? Who knows, but it is probably safe to say that he wasn't the type of coach who was able to coax the best basketball out his players during the post-season. The Bulls need that kind of coach and they need him now, because the window for this team may not be open long.

  • In reply to bjb57:

    Totally agree, for the most part he has been regularly out coached in the playoffs, which is really all that matters.

  • The Bulls want a 1st round pick, the Lakers have two first round picks, with one late 1st round pick(rockets pick) the Bulls could use to package and move up in the draft. Last year the Lakers were said to have had interest in Thibodeau? too bad they can't make a deal, the Lakers could be back in playoff contention and the Bulls could move up and grab the point guard or center they are targeting. Jerry Reinsdorf and the GarPax twisted sisters sure are giving themselves a bad name around the league by dragging this out.

  • Just fire Thibs and let's move on. The Magic is going to hire Skiles, the Pelicans probably Gentry and Thibs is not a fit in Denver. Unlike Doc, Thibs has never won anything so to expect to get compensation is folly. Thibs is nothing more than a defensive coach over promoted to his level of incompetency. Happens all the time in sports. He just doesn't have the skill set and mind set to bring a team to a championship and other teams know that. In fact, GarPax wasted this whole season letting a guy coach a team that they didn't believe in.

    It's time to cut your losses and get rid of this air of negativity that surrounds this team. Prolonging the inevitable is the sign of a losing organization.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Agreed on the over promoted thing... although, the Bulls' over-promoted misstep wasn't nearly as disastrous as the Bears', who over-promoted with their GM hire who then over-promoted with his head coaching hire.

  • who's the blond chick, Jen Swanson? she has to be Thibs new best friend.

  • Front office should have been planning a trade of Thibodeau right after they let Ron Adams walk. Messing with a a very stubborn and proud couch and his chief assistant should have been the huge clue to management that the relationship with them and their HC is not tenable for long. Paxson could have got his First Round pick at that time when Thibodeau's stock was sky hi and instead of waiting and leaking stories and devaluing his Head Coach to the point that a prospect of a trade laughable . What a huge blunnder!! Something that Danny Ainge did not do with Doc Rivers.

  • In reply to Cali786:

    This is the absolute truth of the matter. They should have looked to move Thibs as soon as they moved Ron Adams. Sure the league might have taken suspicion to the move but things wouldn't have gotten this bad and public like they are now. And that's the biggest problem of all is that the whole situation has gone public. If they would have just delt with matters behind closed doors and kept their mouths shut we would probably already have a new coach and maybe even a late 1st had they pulled the trigger sooner.

  • And, the Thibs era is OVAH!

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