A Yahoo Sports report says Bulls management has been “obsessed” with ousting coach Tom Thibodeau for years and “can’t wait” to fire him.
The report came out early Tuesday morning, not long after the Bulls dispatched the Cavaliers 99-92 in Game 1 of their playoff series.
As [Derrick] Rose makes an inspired return to a playoff stage that desperately missed him, Thibodeau is pushing closer to the end of his run here. This wasn’t on his mind on Monday after a 99-92 Game 1 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers; only winning. Only the opportunity now. Rose is becoming Rose again, slowly, surely, but the progression’s unmistakable. It changes everything for Chicago, except this: Amid the twisted culture of Chicago’s regime – where winning is losing, where success is failure – management can’t wait to rid itself of one Tom Thibodeau.
For everything Chicago management does to undermine the coach, this Bulls locker room has remained something rare in professional sports: unaffected and unrelenting.
“Ahhhh, that’s all noise,” Thibodeau told Yahoo Sports. He won’t do it. He won’t think about endings on Monday night, when this feels so much like a beginning for these Bulls.
Wojnarowski also reports that the Bulls’ first choice to replace Thibodeau is Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg, who played four seasons in Chicago from 1999-2003.
The Orlando Magic, according to the report, are waiting to see how the breakup goes before pursuing Thibodeau for themselves.
“What I loved about tonight, with Derrick, he was trusting the pass. Now, he makes the pass – and boom – we’ve got Gasol. We’ve got Jimmy. We’ve got a real good shot.”
Yes, the Bulls have a real good shot now. And the best chance that they’ll ever have to win a title here would be with Thibodeau – as terrific of a coach as Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg, management’s choice to ultimately be the replacement. The Orlando Magic are waiting to watch what happens at season’s end, league sources said, waiting to see how the team and coach dissolve the remaining two years on his contract and separate.
“It’s a great group of guys,” Thibodeau finally said on Monday night. “That’s the thing that makes it so good as a coach – all the adversity that they’ve been through, no matter what the circumstances are, they always rise up and give you what they’ve got.”
You can read the full report here.