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.”
That sounded like it might leave a mark, and Thibodeau was reportedly hurt by the way the Bulls handled his departure.
Several confidants of Thibodeau have encouraged him to take next season off, collect his Bulls salary and survey potential jobs for the 2016-17 season. According to three people who spoke to Thibodeau, Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf’s stinging statement on his firing hurt but otherwise he sounded buoyed and optimistic about his future.
One Thibodeau confidant even said he talked appreciatively about his five-year run in Chicago, a city in which he loved to coach with a roster he also admired.
There are only two current head coaching vacancies at the moment, and those are jobs with the Pelicans and the Nuggets.
Thibodeau has never been linked to the opening in Denver, and New Orleans has already interviewed several candidates, including Golden State assistant coach Alvin Gentry for a second time.
Money isn’t an issue for Thibodeau, because the Bulls will be paying him the $9 million that was still left on his contract when they decided to cut him loose. If the Pelicans job can’t be his (and he may not be all that interested in it anyway), then sitting out a season and waiting for more desirable opportunities to become available may be the best option.