Reports: Some Bulls players didn’t endorse Tom Thibodeau returning, already told he won’t

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The Tom ThibodeauBulls standoff might be finally nearing a conclusion.

This week.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

All signs point to these being Tom Thibodeau’s last days as Bulls coach with a resolution planned for no later than Friday, sources told the Tribune.

Furthermore, according to multiple sources, some players didn’t endorse Thibodeau’s return in exit meetings with management.

In fact, according to sources, some players have been making separate offseason plans for several summers instead of working out formerly at the Berto Center and now the Advocate Center to get a break from Thibodeau, who rarely leaves the practice facility.

Sean Deveney of Sporting News:

That would be in Chicago, where some players and people around the Bulls already have heard that coach Tom Thibodeau won’t be back next year, two people close to the situation told Sporting News.

Thibodeau has the support of some Bulls players, though apparently not others – which makes him like every coach in the NBA. Chicago management has incentive to leak information about the unhappy players, but that alone doesn’t present a full picture.

Still, it’s easy to see how the hard-driving Thibodeau would wear on his team. If players leave Chicago during the offseason for a break, that’s not the worst thing in the world. Mark it as a drawback in a pro-con list that still favors Thibodeau heavily as a good coach.

But that doesn’t make him a good coach for the Bulls. By this point, it’s apparent the rift between him and management (Gar Forman and John Paxson) is too deep.

We’ve heard about squabbles over playing time, practice habits and offense. Here’s another point of discord.

Doug Collins reportedly went to Thibodeau in 2013 about becoming a Chicago assistant coach.

Johnson:

In fact, Collins initiated the idea and it came in 2013, the sources said. This was shortly after the Bulls let Ron Adams go and Collins’ son, Chris, landed the Northwestern head coaching job.

Collins, according to one of the sources, talked to Thibodeau for two hours as a friendly overture to help him as an assistant focusing on the offense. Thibodeau called Collins back 10 days later to decline, which Collins understood with no issues.

Bulls management and ownership learned about Collins’ overture months later, two sources said. Thibodeau chose to keep the conversation with Collins private.

I don’t blame Thibodeau for not hiring Collins – especially as an offensive-minded assistant. Collins was a very good coach at one point, but he struggled to keep up as the NBA got smarter about shot selection. The Bulls didn’t need more long 2s.

And Thibodeau was under no obligation to disclose his meeting with Collins to management. But if Thibodeau had a healthy working relationship with Forman and Paxson, he would have.

This is an untenable situation that will probably be over very soon.

Could NBA playoffs have 1-16 seeding?

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver likes the idea of 1-16 playoff seeding.

Could it finally happen this season?

Brian Windhorst on ESPN:

The more people I talk to, the more people in the league think that it’s going to end up being a playoffs-only scenario. And to spice it up, this is something I think Adam Silver is going to bring to the table.

There have two major impediments to this plan in normal years:

  • Travel
  • Eastern Conference owners

It seems likely the season will resume at only Disney World. A single site eliminates the travel concerns.

At least five Eastern Conference owners would have to vote for this format change. They typically want to protect their playoff slots and easier path to the NBA Finals rather than mixing with often-better Western Conference teams.

But if only some teams resume, owners of the finished teams would would be incentivized to support whatever draws the most revenue. If only playoff teams return, that would increase the pool of owners who wouldn’t be voting by self interest.

It helps that the top eight teams in each conference have the league’s 16 best records. So no teams would gain or lose a playoff berth unless more regular-season games are played (or a play-in tournament is held).

This might be the year for a 1-16 format. Just don’t expect it to continue into normal years.

If it happens without any more regular-season games, here’s how the bracket would look:

Rumor: Mike Budenholzer was close to taking Knicks job in 2018

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It’s the lure of the New York market, that a coach would consider passing on coaching Giannis Antetokounmpo and a team on the rise in Milwaukee to take the job.

In the summer of 2018, Mike Budenholzer was out in Atlanta and the best established name on the coaching market. At the time, it was known Coach Bud was the top choice of the Knicks, but he was reportedly close to taking the job, according to Ian Begley at SNY.TV.

Discussions between the Knicks and Budenholzer in the 2018 offseason advanced to a point where some people who would have come with Budenholzer to New York were talking about places to live in the city because they felt Budenholzer was close to taking the job, per SNY sources…

One official from an opposing team involved in searches at the time confirmed that coaching the Knicks intrigued Budenholzer. “Bud was definitely interested,” the team official said recently.

Budenholzer, however, chose Milwaukee, which had Antetokounmpo and a roster that was talented but needed a more modern offensive style and more focus. Budenholzer brought that and the team won 60 games last season, and is a title contender this season (if and when the NBA season restarts).

The Knicks hired David Fizdale, who lasted less than a season and a half before being let go. New team president Leon Rose now has to hire a new coach, and that will say a lot about the direction he wants to take the team.

He’d be lucky to find someone as good as Budenholzer.

Watch Tom Brady tell Charles Barkley to ‘take a suck of that’ after he holes fairway shot

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It was the highlight of an entertaining — if not always pretty — afternoon of live golf, raising money for charity.

Tampa Bay Bay Buccanneers quarterback Tom Brady (it’s so weird to type that) was on his fourth shot on the par-5 7th hole at the Medalist Golf Club. Brady had a rough front nine to that point, and commentator Charles Barkley decided to up the trash talk (as if Barkley should talk about someone else’s golf game).

“How many shots do you want? Come on, I’m going to give you some shots man, I want some of you,” Barkley said.

“Don’t worry, it ain’t over yet,” Brady countered as he walked up to his fourth shot, 130 yards from the pin. “I think you just made him mad, Chuck,” host Brian Anderson said. “No, he can take a joke,” Barkley replied. Then this happened.

Brady earned that trash talk.

It wasn’t the only great exchange between the two; they had some fun on an earlier on a par 3 when Barkley bet Brady couldn’t get it on the green.

Increasing buzz teams well out of playoffs will not come to Orlando for games

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The Golden State Warriors have been public about it, they expect their season to be over. Golden State is far from alone, multiple teams well out of the playoff picture have questioned the expense and risk-to-reward ratio of coming back to play a handful of regular season games without fans in Orlando.

More and more, the buzz has been the NBA league office sees things the same way. I am not the only reporter hearing this: Steve Popper of Newsday wrote a column saying there was no reason to invite all 30 teams to the bubble city and the USA Today’s well-connected Jeff Zillgett added this:

This is where we throw in the caveat: There are no hard-and-fast plans from the NBA yet and every option is still being considered. One lesson Adam Silver took from David Stern was not to make a decision until you have to, and Silver is going to absorb more information in the coming weeks — such as from the recent GM survey — before making his call.

That said, the league seems to be coalescing around a general plan, which includes camps starting in mid-June and games in mid-July in Orlando.

For the bottom three to five teams in each conference, there is little motivation to head to Orlando for the bubble. It’s an expense to the owner with no gate revenue coming in, teams want to protect their NBA Draft Lottery status, and the Warriors don’t want to risk injury to Stephen Curry — or the Timberwolves to Karl-Anthony Towns, or the Hawks to Trae Young — for a handful of meaningless games.

The league is considering a play-in tournament for the final seed or seeds in each conference (there are a few format options on the table, it was part of the GM survey). That would bring the top 10 or 12 seeds from each conference to the bubble, depending upon the format, and they would play a handful of games to determine which teams are in the playoffs (and face the top seeds).

Either way, that would leave the three or five teams with the worst records in each conference home. Which is the smart thing to do, there’s no reason to add risk to the bubble for a handful of meaningless games.