The Chicago Bulls find themselves in the midst of an extremely disappointing season. They enter Friday’s slate of action one game out of the final playoff spot back east.
This comes on the heels of the team firing a head coach in Tom Thibodeau that had led the organization to three 50-win campaigns and five playoff appearances in five years as the head coach.
Replacing him was an elite level college head coach in Fred Hoiberg, who apparently knew he’d be taking over the Bulls job long before Thibodeau himself was fired.
Per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo’s The Vertical:
“Chicago’s front office of John Paxson (vice president) and Gar Forman (general manager) could not wait to hire Fred Hoiberg away from Iowa State last spring,” Wojnarowski said. “So much so that both the front office and Hoiberg knew for months prior that Tom Thibodeau would be fired and that Hoiberg would ultimately take over as the Bulls coach.”
If that’s not some shady backroom dealings, I am not entirely sure what is. There’s an unwritten rule within the coaching fraternity not to go all slime-ball behind the back of other coaches.
We’ve seen this come to a head in the National Football League with Jim Tomsula reportedly jockeying for Jim Harbaugh’s job in San Francisco during the 2014 season.
More recently, Dirk Koetter apparently pulled one over on former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith this past winter.
While it’s not uncommon in the professional sports world, it does paint the Bulls’ front office and Hoiberg in a bad light, especially when it comes to a respected coach like Thibodeau.
Wojnarowski’s report continues:
“So Hoiberg is management’s guy now. And they’re on the line for his success. Management can’t fire Tom Thibodeau with $9 million left on his deal, then oust Hoiberg with an additional $20 million remaining over four years on his contract.”
Those who question Chicago’s handling of this whole coaching situation would like nothing more than to see the world burn around the Bulls under Hoiberg. This is a group that includes former NBA head coach Jeff Van Gundy, among other respected basketball minds.
It will be interesting to see how this dynamic plays out moving forward.
Both Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol are slated to become free agents during the summer. Meanwhile, a recent report suggests that the team could look to move All-Star guard Jimmy Butler.
If we have learned anything from the sports world recently, it’s that people in high positions are always looking for their next scapegoat.
For the Bulls, that might come in the form of players comprising their disappointing roster rather than a head coach that’s failed to act the part of Geppetto to the front office’s Pinocchio.