(CBS) With the Bulls being eliminated by the Cavaliers on Thursday night in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, all attention now turns to the future of Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau, who has a well-documented contentious relationship with the front office.
It’s simply a matter of when, not if, Thibodeau and the Bulls part ways, according to numerous reports. And after that time comes, Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg will be the top candidate with no other competition, Yahoo Sports NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski said Friday in an interview with the Spiegel and Goff Show.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Another Wave Of Downpours Coming Early Friday Morning
“The job will be Fred Hoiberg’s if he wants it,” Wojnarowski said. “There’s not going to be any competition for him. Now, it’s conceivable that Fred Hoiberg decides to stay at Iowa State, but if they make a change and Tom Thibodeau is out, Fred Hoiberg is really the only candidate for this job from the Bulls perspective. But that doesn’t guarantee that he’s going to do it. I know he’s already had to give it thought because it’s real.
“He knows what’s coming. Everybody does.”
Hoiberg and Bulls general manager Gar Forman have a close relationship. Forman was an assistant coach when Hoiberg played at Iowa State in the mid-1990s.
“They have history, and they have a relationship,” Wojnarowski said. “They have a trust there, and I think that’s what they’re looking for here, from the Bulls’ perspective.”
Before getting too far, Thibodeau’s exit must be choreographed. There are two logical routes for that to happen.
Thibodeau could be receptive to leaving and give the Bulls the opportunity to trade him for draft pick compensation. Or Thibodeau could play hardball and force the Bulls to fire him, at which point they’d be on the hook for the money on the final two years of his contract.READ MORE: Frank Pietrangelo, Hero Of 1991 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Says He Was Among Those Sexually Abused By Hockey Coach Tom 'Chico' Adrahtas
It’s worth noting that if Thibodeau lands a job leading another team next year, there’s offset language so that the Bulls wouldn’t have to pay all the money left on his contract, Wojnarowski said.
The Pelicans, Magic and Nuggets have open jobs. New Orleans’ is considered the most appealing because of 22-year-old Anthony Davis’ rise to superstardom.
“With the New Orleans job open — the appeal is as good as it gets in the league — what will Tom want?” Wojnarowski said. “Will he want personnel control somewhere? Will he want to be a president and hire a GM to run the team? Will he be satisfied with just coaching?
“Those are the questions Tom has got to answer for himself and the people around him are going to have to help him answer.
“If you’re the Bulls, you want to get out of this A) without having to pay him or pay as low as possible and you’d like to be able to get a draft pick from a team. I don’t know that Orlando is going to give up one. They’re not going to give up that first-round lottery (pick). That’s not happening.
“Maybe a second-round picks is conceivable. The Clippers gave up a first-round pick for Doc Rivers, but they were contenders with a late pick. Orlando’s a lottery team. They’re not giving up a lottery pick for him. I’m sure the Bulls will ask for it.
“I think this thing stretches out. I think it’s going to be complicated.”MORE NEWS: Shane Jason Woods Of Downstate Auburn, Illinois Charged In Jan. 6 Capitol Insurrection
Listen to Wojnarowski’s full interview below.