Cowley: Relationship between Bulls, Thibodeau won’t last

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Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau instructs his team during an offensive possession in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Barring a big playoff push, the Bulls and coach Tom Thibodeau could be parting ways after the season, said Sun-Times Bulls beat writer Joe Cowley in an interview Wednesday with 670 The Score’s Mike Mulligan and Brian Hanley.

“This thing behind the scenes is ugly right now,” Cowley said. “I don’t think it’s getting any better, and if you were to ask me right now, unless things change — and obviously we have to see what happens in the playoffs — I think the two sides will be parting ways at the end of this season. That’s just my opinion. I don’t see this relationship lasting too long.

“I just have a feeling this front office is building its case of why they should get rid of Thibodeau and has been since the beginning of the year. Is that undermining? I don’t know what it is, but it just doesn’t feel right.”

ABC/ESPN color analyst Jeff Van Gundy ranted during last week’s Bulls-Mavericks game that the organization and Chicago media were undermining the head coach.

John Paxson said the notion was pathetic.

The Bulls do have a history, though, as Cowley points out, of running coaches out of town, including six-time champion Phil Jackson.

“You have an elite coach in your presence and you have a franchise that has a history of not getting along with its coach, even going back to Jerry Krause,” Cowley said. “At some point you have to look in the mirror and say ‘What’s the problem here?’ It can’t be (Scott) Skiles and Vinny Del Negro, and it can’t be Phil Jackson. It can’t always be all their fault. And it can’t always be Thibodeau’s fault. You hope things change. I think winning could cure that. But as of right now, if you ask me, Thibodeau is somewhere else next season.”

Listen to Cowley’s full interview with “Mully & Hanley” here.

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