As the Bulls advance deeper and deeper into this postseason, the reportedly rocky relationship between head coach and Tom Thibodeau and management in the front office becomes more and more intriguing to watch.
There’s been persistent chatter that Thibodeau’s job is on the line, but it seems to have little to do with his actual performance.
The relationship has been described as being beyond repair, while people close to Thibodeau are convinced that he’ll be fired as soon as the season is finished. Now, after Chicago went into Cleveland and upended the Cavaliers to take a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semis, comes yet another report which seems to confirm that’s the case.
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. …
“In this league, it’s so easy to get sidetracked. There’s so much noise. Trades. Free agency. This. That. Whatever. To me, none of that is important. All that matters is what we think. Are we doing the right things every day? Are we putting the proper work in? Are we playing the right way? Practicing the right way? That’s how you play well in this league. All that other stuff is just noise, it doesn’t mean anything.”
Head coaches in the NBA are no different than any of us at our jobs, in that it doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do if you can’t get along with your boss. We saw Mark Jackson blown out as head coach in Golden State after guiding the Warriors to a 51-win regular season, and we saw the Nuggets part ways with George Karl after a successful 57-win 2013 season because he refused to do what the front office asked.
But what if the Bulls make it to the Finals for the first time since Michael Jordan won his last title some 17 years ago? Can management really still let Thibodeau go if that happens?
No one knows for sure. But what’s clear is that Thibodeau is one of the league’s best coaches, and should he indeed find himself looking for work this summer, he’ll certainly have plenty of options.