By David Schuster–
(CBS) If you’re reading this article now, consider yourself more likely to coach the Bulls next season than Tom Thibodeau.
It has long been suspected and now recently reported that a divorce between Thibodeau and Bulls management would occur, but just how it unfolds isn’t what you might think.
Yes, the upper brass has tired of Thibodeau and his philosophy, which is contrary to what the front office would like to see. That includes excessive minutes for players, practice habits that border on extreme and even substitution patterns that don’t make sense and this past year didn’t give rookie Doug McDermott much opportunity. But it doesn’t stop there. A basketball lifer, Thibodeau’s a different kind of personality, and that personality has clashed with or turned off numerous people within the Bulls organization.
So the Bulls want a new voice in their lead chair on the bench, but they also know that Thibodeau is an asset and that he’s coveted by other teams around the league. They also are acutely aware that Thibodeau still has two years left on his current contract, and they’re not going to outright fire him because they’ll get nothing in return by doing so. And contrary to what Thibodeau said after Thursday’s season-ending loss, he has been considering his future elsewhere.
He may not have contacted other teams, but that’s not to say that other people haven’t already done so on his behalf. As one person within the Bulls organization told me, “There are no secrets in the NBA.”
At some point, the Bulls ownership will likely give Thibodeau and his representatives permission to officially speak with other organizations, and once they reach a deal, then the Bulls will negotiate a deal of their own as to compensation for Thibodeau leaving. And there’s recent precedent for coaches being traded.
Jason Kidd went from Brooklyn to Milwaukee for a pair of second-round picks last year. One of Thibodeau’s friends, Doc Rivers, talked his way out of Boston to the Los Angeles Clippers for a first-round pick from the Clippers two years ago.
New Orleans and Orlando will be front and center as teams looking to secure Thibodeau’s services, and there may be others too. The more, the merrier for the Bulls, because they could then hold out for a higher price.
Nothing will happen until owner Jerry Reinsdorf takes control of the situation, but that’s coming soon.
David Schuster is a reporter, update anchor and weekend host for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @Schumouse.