The Bulls continued their perceived clean-up of the Tom Thibodeau era over the last week, first announcing that assistant coach Andy Greer was also dismissed, but also quietly moving on from video coordinator Dice Yoshimoto, according to a league source.
Assistants Adrian Griffin, Mike Wilhelm and Ed Pinckney, however, could all be back, with Fred Hoiberg also looking to bring a veteran assistant of his choosing into the mix.
That should bring a smile to the faces of Bulls bigs like Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson, who have all built relationships with those three assistants and could use a little continuity right about now.
Hoiberg’s hope is that all three will be smiling once they get a taste of his offense.
The perception when the Iowa State coach was hired was that the Cyclones’ up-tempo style of ball wasn’t conducive to having two bigs on the floor at once, but Hoiberg quickly put that perception to rest.
“We had a lot of success with that at Iowa State, using our bigs as playmakers in the open floor,’’ Hoiberg said. “And then Pau’s ability to get up and seal in transition or go right into a drag screen and pop with his ability to shoot. And then the bench players, Taj, I’ve always loved his ability to get out, he’s a great defensive player.’’
The one player he really singled out, however, was Noah. Hoiberg was an assistant general manager for the Minnesota Timberwolves the year the Bulls drafted Noah, so had plenty of tape on him and ideas on how he should be used.
That’s great, but will mean little if the Bulls move Noah this offseason, which is a real possibility.
WHAT’S COMING BACK
Joakim Noah – Noah will be entering the final year of his contract, and will do so with a $13.4 million price tag and a surgically-repaired left knee that did him very little favors. With Gasol and the return of Derrick Rose to the mix, Noah’s numbers dropped drastically from last season, and that’s why the Bulls are expected to at least test the trade market with him.
Taj Gibson – If there’s not a market on Noah, Gibson is Plan B on that trade list, especially with the Bulls up against the cap and needing to fill a wing spot, as well as find a back-up point guard. There are several with the Bulls that felt Gibson’s season was hurt by all the restrictions in practice thrown on him by director of sports performance Jen Swanson, as he was often injured under her watch.
Pau Gasol – Gasol will make $7.4 million next season and was worth every penny of the $7.1 million he made this season. One of the better free-agent pickups the Bulls have made in years.
Nazr Mohammed – The veteran wants one more NBA season, but it might not come with the Bulls.
Cameron Bairstow – The rookie did all that was asked of him as a second-round pick, but could be elsewhere if the team doesn’t grab his option.
WHAT’S OUT THERE
Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan, Brook Lopez and Greg Monroe could all be free agents this summer, but with the depth the Bulls have in the middle and the cap they are up against, maybe a guy like Samuel Dalembert or Joel Anthony gets a look in camp as a deep bench guy.
There are some talented bigs in this draft, but not so much at No. 22 when the Bulls pick. UCLA’s Kevon Looney is intriguing, but at 6-foot-9 is more power forward than center. Expect the Bulls to look point guard.