clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

John Paxson, Gar Forman never wanted Thibodeau — report

Brian O'Mahoney/For Sun-Times Media

It makes more sense why Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf made a statement after firing coach Tom Thibodeau on Thursday—because Reindorf was the one who advocated his hiring.

Yahoo! sports writer Adrian Wojnarowski reported Reinsdorf and, VP John Paxson and GM Gar Forman didn’t see eye-to-eye on the Thibodeau hiring.

Perhaps this partnership was forever doomed. Thibodeau was Jerry Reinsdorf’s choice to coach the Bulls, choosing him over Paxson’s (Doug Collins) and Forman’s (Lawrence Frank and Mike Brown). This was Reinsdorf’s way. He hired Del Negro, too. Like Del Negro, management spent more time undermining Thibodeau than it did supporting him.

Wojnarowski also reported Thibodeau and Reinsdorf were close, and Thibodeau was unhappy by the dismissal and the unpleasant comments made by the Bulls owner.

Those close to Thibodeau say that Reinsdorf’s statement stung the coach on Thursday, that he had treasured his relationship with the owner. Thibodeau has always admired Reinsdorf’s accomplishments – a self-made tycoon, a successful sports and media mogul – and always felt that Reinsdorf had been an ally for him. Reinsdorf wasn’t around much, though, and talked far more with management than the coach. Thibodeau lost Reinsdorf in the past year, and ultimately lost the job.

Here’s an excerpt from Reinsdorf’s statement on the firing of Thibodeau:

“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. … 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.”

The notion that Forman and Paxson didn’t want Thibodeau makes it clear to see why the former Bulls coach didn’t last through the entirety of his contract despite holding a .647 winning percentage.

In the end, Wojnarowski writes, Forman will potentially get his way and hire the guy that he wants — Fred Hoiberg.

Finally, the Bulls have the clear path to hire Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg. Forman has been obsessive in his desire to hire Hoiberg, and it will be only a matter of days until the Bulls’ make-believe search ends and this back-door process is over.