When the Bulls formally announced the firing of head coach Tom Thibodeau, the organization left little doubt as to its motives for making the change.
“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,” Chicago Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said. “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.”
In addition to being unwilling to include management in the decision-making process, Thibodeau famously played his players an insane amount of minutes, even when logic seemed to dictate otherwise.
A recent report, from Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, seems to hammer these points home.
At a presentation on wearable technology organized by coaching agent Warren Legarie last year in Chicago, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau raised his hand. Everyone in the audience knew where this was going.
Thibodeau, fired last week by the Bulls and replaced by Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg, had resisted overtures from Bulls management to employ wearable technology to monitor players’ recovery, league sources said.
“He was basically challenging it, like, ‘Michael Jordan didn’t need that,’” Kopp said. “Fair point, but one of the most amazing athletes in the entire world, I would argue, would’ve benefited, too. There’s a reason why they call it old school, because it’s been replaced by new thinking.”
It’s one thing to be resistant to changing your rotations based on input from management, but it’s quite another to be defensive of your position to the point where you won’t even allow additional information to be collected so that it may become part of the discussion.
Thibodeau may have been hurt by the front office’s public take on how things went down. But if situations like these were becoming the norm in Chicago, the parting of ways was likely for the best.