(Photo credit: Mark L. Baer – USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Bulls general manager Gar Forman announced Thursday morning that head coach Tom Thibodeau has been fired.
Thibodeau’s dismissal doesn’t come as a surprise to many with rumors concerning a coaching change lingering for a while now, especially when considering the problems Thibodeau and the front office have. It was just a matter of when it would happen.
The Chicago Tribune‘s K.C. Johnson reported Wednesday that Thibodeau and John Paxson, the Bulls vice president of basketball operations, haven’t spoke since January, when the Bulls’ practice was canceled to have a team meeting as suggested by Paxson.
In a press release, Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf addressed the disconnect between Thibodeau and the front office in a rather lengthy quote.
“The Chicago Bulls have a history of achieving great success on and off the court. These accomplishments have been possible because of an organizational culture where input from all parts of the organization has been welcomed and valued, there has been a willingness to participate in a free flow of information, and there have been clear and consistent goals. While the head of each department of the organization must be free to make final decisions regarding his department, there must be free and open interdepartmental discussion and consideration of everyone’s ideas and opinions. These internal discussions must not be considered an invasion of turf, and must remain private. Teams that consistently perform at the highest levels are able to come together and be unified across the organization-staff, players, coaches, management and ownership. When everyone is on the same page, trust develops and teams can grow and succeed together. Unfortunately, there has been a departure from this culture. To ensure that the Chicago Bulls can continue to grow and succeed, we have decided that a change in the head coaching position is required. Days like today are difficult, but necessary for us to achieve our goals and fulfill our commitments to our fans. I appreciate the contributions that Tom Thibodeau made to the Bulls organization. I have always respected his love of the game and wish him well in the future.”
Thibodeau has two years and $9 million left on his contract. He joined the Bulls in 2010 after being the associate head coach to Doc Rivers on the Boston Celtics.
In five seasons, Thibodeau coached the Bulls to a 255-139 record for the regular season with playoff appearances each season. The farthest the Bulls got in the playoffs under Thibodeau, though, was to the Eastern Conference finals in 2011 — his first season.
This past season, the Bulls took a second-round exit, losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers after opening the series with a 2-1 lead. The Bulls were 23-28 in the playoffs under Thibodeau.
With Thibodeau gone, the search for a new head coach officially begins, and Fred Hoiberg — who had already been rumored as the next Bulls coach — is the leading candidate according to Johnson.
Fred Hoiberg is leading candidate to replace Thibodeau, who had been telling those close to him he'd be fired by Friday. Told at AM mtng.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) May 28, 2015
The Bulls will hold a press conference to address Thibodeau’s firing at 2 p.m.
Stay tuned to The Bulls Charge for further updates.
Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twiiter at @wijangco12.