To the surprise of absolutely no one, Jeff Van Gundy has thoughts on the Bulls’ decision last week to fire head coach Tom Thibodeau. Thibodeau and Van Gundy are close friends, with Thibodeau having been an assistant under Van Gundy with the Knicks. In a conference call on Monday, Van Gundy addressed Thibodeau’s firing and the very strongly worded press release that accompanied it.
Jeff Van Gundy, on ESPN conf. call: Bulls’ statement firing Tom Thibodeau “absolutely reeked of a lack of class” pic.twitter.com/BdpLX6YjET
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) June 1, 2015
Van Gundy has been intertwined with the long-standing feud between the Bulls and Thibodeau for some time. In January, he was calling a Bulls game for ESPN and made some comments about the nature of the relationship, accusing Bulls management of trying to run Thibodeau out of town. These comments angered GM Gar Forman greatly, and only added to the growing tension between the two sides.
In the press release announcing Thibodeau’s dismissal, Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf accused Thibodeau of making the dynamics of their relationship public, essentially implying that Van Gundy was a mouthpiece for the coach. Van Gundy has denied this.
Van Gundy was in the running for the Pelicans head coaching job before New Orleans hired Alvin Gentry over the weekend. That means he’s more than likely back on ESPN next season. And the first Bulls game he calls is going to be…interesting.