Tag: Pau Gasol


Three coaches who may replace Tom Thibodeau in Chicago


It was time.

But now the Bulls have to do better than the guy they had. That is not going to be easy.

Tom Thibodeau is one of the better, more successful coaches in the NBA. He’s also a hard-driving guy who physically and mentally wore out his charges, guys who did not want him back as the coach. Thibodeau changed the NBA game with his defense, but his offense was conventional, lagging far behind what innovative teams — Golden State, San Antonio — had done to counter his defenses. The blood was bad in Chicago, time for everyone to move on.

That doesn’t excuse the quiet smear job Bulls management has been doing to Thibodeau — up to and including his firing — but there’s a ring of truth to all of it.

Thibodeau will land on his feet somewhere. He’s sought after, and as a classic workaholic he incapable of taking a year off to backpack through Thailand. Or whatever.

Now what direction do the Bulls go?

Bulls GM Gar Forman tried to play his cards close to his vest Thursday at the press conference. (From PBT’s Sean Highkin, who was at the press conference.)

“I just don’t think we’re going to put ourselves in a box. I know that’s kind of an easy thing to say, but we’ve got certain criteria, some of which I’ve already said, but we’re not going to put ourselves in a box that it had to have been a head coach, an assistant, what level they’ve coached at. We’re really looking for the right fit. I went through some of those things that I talked about, obviously someone that could lead, someone that can communicate at a high level, has a great knowledge of the game. Obviously experience is a plus, as far as coaching is concerned. If they’ve been a head coach, even more so. But we’re not going to limit the search in any way.”

Sure. That is a PR crafted statement. The truth is they pretty much are limiting their serious search to these three guys:

1) Fred Hoiberg. The current Iowa State coach — and former 10-year NBA player and front office executive with Minnesota — has long been on the top of the Chicago Bulls list. He’s considered the most NBA-ready of the college coaches by GMs around the league, there will not be as much learning on the job as with most college coaches. The question is does he want to make the leap to the NBA right now? Hoiberg grew up in Ames, Iowa, the hometown of Iowa State. That’s where he played his college ball. He’s called the mayor there for a reason. Plus, he recently had a heart procedure — is deep-dish pizza and NBA hours/stress what he wants in his life right now?

2) Alvin Gentry. He’s sort of the anti-Thibodeau — a player-friendly coach whose strength is on the offensive end. He was the lead assistant in Golden State this year where his fingerprints are all over the Warriors’ prolific offense. The season before he was Doc Rivers’ lead assistant in charge of a Clippers’ offense that has been the most efficient in the league for a couple seasons. There is plenty of talent in Chicago — Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol, Jimmy Butler (who will re-sign in Chicago), Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic, Tony Snell, Doug McDermott, plus Mike Dunleavy. If the Bulls want to change course, this is the best call.

3) Adrian Griffin. The Bulls current lead assistant keeps the job in house but promotes a guy a lot of the league sees as an assistant ready for the move to the big chair. He’s a former NBA player who is credited with the development of guys like Jimmy Butler (who just one Most Improved Player). The guys in the locker room love him.  He’s not a bad choice, but he is Plan C — if Hoiberg and Gentry both pass on Chicago, Griffin’s phone will ring. 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ improved defense helps them to Finals

Cleveland Cavaliers V Atlanta Hawks - Game Four

The Cleveland Cavaliers are not in the Finals without LeBron James playing like the best player on the planet. They are not there without J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson stepping up, or without Kyrie Irving playing through pain.

But they are also playing good defense, and that’s what Jenna Corrado and I discuss in this latest PBT Extra.

The Cavaliers are allowing 98.5 points per 100 possesions in the playoffs, the best of the four teams to reach the Conference Finals. Opponents are shooting just 41.2 percent against them through three rounds.

The question to be answered in the Finals: Was that just because they were in a soft East? The Celtics were not a very good team, Pau Gasol was injured in the Bulls series, and the Hawks were a mess on offense. How much of that was good Cavaliers defense and how much was bad opponent offense?

This much is for sure: Golden State (or maybe Houston, but probably Golden State) will provide an entirely different level of challenge.

Nazr Mohammed plans to play another season

Philadelphia 76ers V Chicago Bulls

The 10 oldest players to play in the NBA this season:

1. Andre Miller

2. Tim Duncan

3. Kevin Garnett

4. Vince Carter

5. Pablo Prigioni

6. Manu Ginobili

7. Nazr Mohammed

8. Jason Terry

9. Kenyon Martin

10. Paul Pierce

With Duncan, Pierce and Ginobili noncommittal about their futures, the 37-year-old Mohammed could climb the ranking next year.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

Mohammed, who spent the last three seasons with the Bulls, will become a free agent this summer.

He’s a serviceable third center, though his production has slipped noticeably from even last season. At his age, it’s surely only downhill from here.

Chicago has plenty of talent in front of him with Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson (and Nikola Mirotic, who takes power forward minutes that could otherwise go to one of the preceding three players). The Bulls will likely keep another big for depth, but the stability of their top bigs could afford them to use that roster spot on developing a younger player.

It’s no lock an NBA team will sign Mohammed, but he seems to be liked by teammates and coaches. It’d hardly be surprising if some team sees value in having him around on a minimum contract.