I grew up in the 1980’s and 90’s. The age of coaching as it once was. College and professional sports alike would give coaches time to build their vision. They wouldn’t pull the plug after one or two years, and you certainly wouldn’t lose your job after winning nearly 65% of your games. How does one fire a person that wins at that clip anyways? How do you justify that?
One particular fan base and team has a right to know the answer to that question. After the Chicago Bulls did what had been rumored for days planning. Which by the way should be enough to have Jerry Reinsdorf, John Paxson, and company tested for insanity. They fired Tom Thibodeau. They fire the guy that has led them to the playoffs for five straight years. The guy that has lead them to a conference finals. The guy that won despite losing the savior of Chicago, Derrick Rose, for nearly half the games he coached the Bulls for. Thibodeau was made the scapegoat. Why was he made the scapegoat? It’s simple, for a roster that isn’t that championship level.
Now hear me out on this. Gasol, Rose, Butler, and Noah are the Bulls core. Honestly, think about that to yourself. You have an old, at the end of his career player cashing in on a team searching for that missing piece for millions upon millions of dollars. What did they get out of him in the most important time of the season? Gasol on the bench “injured”. If you are being paid millions of dollars to be that final piece you play through that weak sauce excuse of an injury. You show up, man up and play your heart and body out for those brothers in uniform.
Then you have the former number one pick that hasn’t played in a full regular season since Barrack Obama was an Illinois Senator. Rose is possibly a top 15 player in the league, but he has been out of day to day playing for so long that the Bulls had no idea what he truly could or would give them. Rose had his moments throughout the year and the playoffs. Without his bank three pointer, the Bulls would have been swept by the Cavs. Rose wasn’t a true factor or threat in that series. In the past LeBron would have guarded him in the fourth quarter to stop Rose from creating and scoring. The Cavs now could have put Kurt Rambis on Rose and it would have been effective. Rose is a nice player, not an MVP caliber.This is a fact: He will never, ever be Michael Jordan and Jerry Reinsdorf needs to get that through his stubborn head.
Thibodeau did have one guy he could count on and the was Jimmy Butler. Butler is a true B to B+ star on the Bulls roster. He won’t ever be elite but he can bring them elite nights. He is this Bulls version of Pippen without the Jordan. We all know what happened to Jordanless Pippen. Don’t worry Butler, Portland has great a great public transit system.
Next Paxson gave Thibodeau the son of a tennis player. Yes Noah was, and pay attention to the word was, an above average defensive player. He was never elite. He never was, nor will he be in the same conversation as an Anthony Davis. Noah is again a nice player but not anything that should make fans and management believe they have a stud at center.
Thibodeau was fired because the Bulls couldn’t land the Carmelo’s of the NBA. They whiffed on LeBron TWICE, and hometown boy Dwayne Wade five years ago. Last summer they couldn’t convince egocentric Melo that teaming with their current roster would bring him a ring and thus put him in the conversation of NBA greats. Why would all these established All-Stars, future Hall of Famers (except Melo) not choose the third biggest market in north america? It wasn’t Thibodeau, as his players have come out in support of him before and after the firing. They didn’t come because they felt the roster lacked something. What that something is I have no idea. Each of these stars might have seen something different lacking in the team makeup.
The Bulls have made the choice to let Thibodeau be a free agent. Let him sign with any team that will take him. Let Thibodeau create a winning culture in another city. Who are the Chicago Bulls going to replace him with? Fred Hoiberg? Hoiberg is an above average college coach and was a by NBA standards a sup par player. How does his knowledge translate into wins? Unless they land a big fish like Krzyzewski or Calipari they are taking a step backwards. They Harbaughed Thibodeau, and like the 49ers don’t seem to have the talent or insight to bring in someone better than him.
Bulls fans should be lined up. They should be pounding on the outside of the United Center demanding answers. Demanding why Reinsdorf, Paxson, and others decided that a coach of this caliber was expendable. You all didn’t get along? Welcome to corporate America gentlemen. Plenty of men and women go home at night cursing their bosses and companies on the drive home. Bosses and companies complain about employees in the same matter. What elite companies and teams do is they don’t Harbaugh the future of elementary grade issues. YOu don’t have to like everyone you work with or for. If that person you doesn’t like is putting money in your pocket, or butts in the seats you ride that until it is over. You don’t let a Tom Thibodeau have carte blanche on a new job. You don’t let him find his Michigan.
By: Steve Kish