The reports have been coming in for some time now that Tom Thibodeau would be done as head coach of the Bulls, no matter how well the team did or did not fare during its run through the postseason.
Now that Chicago has been eliminated from the playoffs, the latest report about Thibodeau’s future with the Bulls seems much more final.
From Marc Stein of ESPN.com:
Many unknowns remain in the Thibodeau saga, naturally starting with the two years and nearly $9 million left on the coach’s contract and the likelihood that both sides will be hoping the other blinks first in the unavoidable standoff forthcoming in terms of how these parties negotiate a divorce.
Yet there’s little mystery surrounding what both sides want. The story is the same no matter who you check with: Thibodeau and his front-office superiors John Paxson and Gar Forman, despite their public pronouncements to the contrary, are utterly done with each other.
As one source close to the situation puts it: “Thibs is gone. They know it and he knows it.”
So what happens next?
Thibodeau still has two more years on his contract with the Bulls, and the team is going to want some sort of compensation for letting Thibodeau walk. Chicago is expected to explore that route before agreeing to a buyout or simply firing him outright.
But the Bulls also reportedly want to have a replacement committed — and one which ownership perceives as an upgrade — before parting ways with their current head coach.
For what’s its worth story from Bulls side is Thibs not going anywhere unless they get the upgrade guy they want committed first.
Nothing is happening with all of this just yet. The Bulls need to see whether guys like Fred Hoiberg or Alvin Gentry can be persuaded to come, and if they can’t, then the team will need to locate another satisfactory candidate before pulling the trigger on Thibodeau’s termination.
As for Thibodeau himself, there will be no shortage of options for him to patrol the sidelines elsewhere next season, with the Pelicans job likely to be the most desirable of the bunch.