So. This is my first post as the lead blogger here. That isn't terrifying at all! I mean, it's not like I have some big shoes to fill. Nah, just some guy who devoted years and years to build up a community, delivering daily articles, recording podcasts, and even got some time in the sun within the old Berto Center.
*Begins sweating* That's easy to replace, right? Right?!
Kidding aside, I want to thank Doug for his years here, as well as his devotion to the site and the Bulls community as a whole. I also want to thank him for this opportunity, and hope I can do the site justice. I hope the sunset looks awesome, buddy!
On to the Bulls, where the talk of the town is, duh, the fate of Tom Thibodeau. After five years residing over the United Center, it appears those days have come to an end, even if the conclusion on the matter might not be resolved quickly. This, in my mind at least, offers up some challenges:
- Hiring a new coach before the draft is beneficial to every club, so the coach can have input.
- Thibodeau himself demands roster input, but won't have any wherever he goes, if this moves into the late summer.
- Dragging out the process could mean
Fred Hoiberga new coach would miss Summer League, an important tool to getting to know the younger members of his new team.
- Coaches aren't allowed to hold team practices over the summer, but that doesn't mean they can't communicate with them and guide their training. This would go away as well.
A quick, simple, resolution would be great for all parties, but have we ever known the Bulls to do "simple"? Not really. Thibs isn't walking away from $9 million because, why should he? The team isn't letting him go without compensation because, why would they? The media has deemed this a game of chicken, but this could be more than that. This could be a whole "unstoppable force meeting an immovable object" thing, something you just hate seeing because it tears on everyone's patience. This is like restricted free agency, only for coaches. Eric Bledsoe situation, here we come!
All right, I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll admit that. But my confidence in a quick resolve on this matter is low. From everything we've read and heard over the past few years, the relationship between Thibs and Gar Forman is beyond the mere conception of repair. There is even a rumor going around that the two aren't on speaking terms, which admittedly is something I don't believe, but I buy the idea that the two probably don't like to talk to one another, which is sort of necessary for them to work anything out. Unless of course it becomes an GM/Agent conversation, which is just inviting miscommunication.
Now, in terms of compensation, the Clippers traded away their first-rounder this year for Doc Rivers last summer. The writing was on the wall for Rivers too, but the Celtics fetched that value anyway. One could argue that the bad blood between Rivers and Danny Ainge was non-existing compared to Thibs and Gar, but that's conjecture. We don't know. My point, however, is this: The media has been all over this feud since it developed. According to everyone, Thibs is gone, and it's supposedly the general thought around the league. So in that light, why would anyone give the Bulls a first-rounder when they could just hang tight and wait until one of them cracks?
I'm going to answer my own question: Because like I stated above, any team interested in Thibs would also want him to get integrated quickly. Waiting it out wouldn't benefit anyone, and if the team in question is looking at a first-rounder in the late 20's anyway, it might be worth calling up the Bulls and telling them there's a first-rounder waiting for them, if they tear his deal up quickly. That's speculation of course, but Thibs is a complicated basketball mind. He's not a plug-and-play coach. He requires months of preparation and planning, getting his roster on the same page as him, and locating which players he can trust.
In short: If he's hired in August, the hiring team would be playing catch-up and risk getting off to an inconsistent start.
We'll see what happens. Tomorrow night is the NBA Draft Lottery. Pending on where the picks fall, some teams might be inclined to change their approach to a coach, and maybe wishing to hire someone quick. If Orlando wins the first pick, I assume they would love to have Thibs coaching their top rookie in Summer League, if he's the guy they want moving forward.