It seems that the Chicago Bulls and Tom Thibodeau will part ways pretty soon, but is it going to be Fred Hoiberg, the Iowa State head coach, who takes his place?
Thibodeau still has two more years left on his contract with the Bulls but his relationship with Gar Forman and John Paxson doesn’t make it very easy to keep on going. It doesn’t really matter if someone is at fault and who the fans side. If a head coach can’t work with the other professional factors in the ball club, something has to be done, and sometimes it means firing who is quite popular with players and the fanbase.
In any case, another failure to reach the NBA finals didn’t really help Thibodeau. For the first time since he began coaching the team in 2010 (winning 64.7% of his games), it seems that he might not be the best thing for the team. Yes, he’s a defensive “genius” but the offense stagnated in the postseason once again, and after five tries, with or without Derrick Rose, maybe it’s time for a change, bringing in someone who can push the Bulls one step or two forward.
The Bulls don’t want to pay Thibodeau the $9 million that he’ll be owed if they fire him, but they won’t have to pay the full amount if he’s let go and is signed by another team. However, up until now, no team has approached them to ask permission to negotiate with the coach, as signing right off of the Bulls will involve draft compensation.
There have been rumors that the situation between Thibodeau and the front office is so bad that the Bulls want to hold on to their head coach until the coaching positions at New Orleans, Orlando and Denver are filled so he’ll be left out of a job this season. But it makes no sense for the Bulls as an organization looking to improve to make decisions based on spite and nothing else.
It’s also not a secret that they’re very interested in adding Hoiberg, who has done very well for himself in Ames with Iowa State. But they need a commitment from the team’s former player (1999-2003), who has taken the Cyclones to the NCAA Tournament four years in a row and has won 67.3% of his games there since becoming the head coach in 2010.
Hoiberg isn’t just popular with the Bulls. The Minnesota Timberwolves, hoping to make Flip Saunders only a general manager again, are interested in his services, but right now, Hoiberg isn’t sure if he’s ready to make the plunge and leave college basketball and become an NBA head coach. Not finding anyone suitable to replace him with might be the only way Thibodeau remains their head coach.