The Chicago Bulls have a healthy Derrick Rose and are in the midst of their deepest run in the NBA Playoffs in years, but rumors indicate that it may not be enough to save coach Tom Thibodeau’s job.
The rumors of Thibodeau’s departure from the Chicago Bulls have circulated for several months and have continued even as the team makes a run in the NBA Playoffs. Last week, Yahoo Sports writer Adrian Wojnarowski addressed the rumors, noting that Thibodeau is “pushing closer to the end of his run” with the Bulls.
Thibodeau also seemed to imply that this year, with a healthy Derrick Rose and a good shot at taking down the Cleveland Cavaliers to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, might be his last hurrah with the team.
“They sense that you don’t get these opportunities all the time,” Thibodeau told Yahoo Sports. “You’ve got to make the most of them. These guys are starting to build a chemistry. Whatever our circumstances are, we’ve got to go. This is it.”
Thibodeau admits that it’s taken some work to drown out the rumors and keep the Chicago Bulls focused on their end goal, winning the team’s first title since 1998.
“I want them to be mentally tough,” Thibodeau said. “In this league, it’s so easy to get sidetracked. There’s so much noise. Trades. Free agency. This. That. Whatever. To me, none of that is important. All that matters is what we think. Are we doing the right things every day? Are we putting the proper work in? Are we playing the right way? Practicing the right way? That’s how you play well in this league. All that other stuff is just noise, it doesn’t mean anything.”
Thibodeau’s next stop in the NBA may already be determined as well. Several reports have connected him with the Orlando Magic, who are seeking a new coach after the firing of Jacques Vaughn during the last season.
The Magic have taken their time finding a successor, which the Orlando Sentinel explains could be because the team wants Thibodeau.
“The theory mentioned most often revolves around current Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. The league observers speculate that the Magic want to see whether the Bulls and Thibodeau will part ways after the Bulls conclude their playoff run.”
If the Chicago Bulls rumors are true, then it will be up to the team’s management what happens with Tom Thibodeau. He is still under contract, so the Bulls will have to give him permission to talk to the Magic or any other teams — if they don’t fire him first.
[Image via Getty Images/Jonathan Daniel]