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May 15, 2015 Updates

Sam Smith: Since Ron Adams was let go as an assistant, I know the Bulls have begged Thibodeau to add someone to run the offense, or at least be an offensive mind to work with. Thibodeau has declined. He likes to run the offense, too, and the issue to me has been less a predictable offense—how many NBA offenses are so creative? LeBron posting up? Harden dribbling all over?—than Thibodeau being so hands on and calling so many plays, which I’ve long felt inhibits the flow. I’ve always been one who’d rather see the players make more calls, push the ball in transition, swing the ball. That’s the reason for the droughts: Late shot clocks with deliberate play in too many play calls. It’s why the triangle is a good offense. It requires players to make more decisions. They should, and the good ones can. NBA.com

Orlando has a lot of young guys who should develop into plus defenders, but they don’t have a star, and their ugly parting with Stan Van Gundy — a close friend of Thibodeau’s — surely colors the way Thibodeau views the franchise. The Magic also just gave Rob Hennigan, their GM, a contract extension, and after his rocky relationship with Chicago’s front office, Thibodeau might crave a larger role in personnel decisions. He has the clout now to at least push for that kind of power in contract talks. Grantland

Trading one of Chicago’s four core frontcourt players for a wing would be the best way to unclutter the roster and open up at least the mini midlevel exception. All four guys deserve major minutes, and a team just doesn’t need four bigs who require that kind of time — especially when none of them can slide into the small-forward spot. Thibodeau tried that with Mirotic, but it’s a waste of his skill set, and he struggles at times to defend wing players — especially when teams put him in the pick-and-roll, as Cleveland did when Mirotic was guarding Iman Shumpert. Gibson is the likeliest trade candidate, though there is some intrigue around the league about Noah on an expiring contract. Executives are curious: Is Noah forever diminished, or can we rehabilitate him? But Noah is so central to Chicago’s culture that the Bulls may be reluctant to move him. He is their soul. Then again, people said that about Luol Deng, and when the Bulls found a killer trade, they didn’t hesitate. Grantland

Chris Mullin and Ed Pinckney are close friends dating back to their Big East playing days, and sources told SNY.tv he’s the favorite to fill the third spot, which has remained open since Mullin took the job April 1. “There’s a lot of different candidates,” Mullin said last month. If Pinckney joined the staff, St. John’s would have a loaded set of recruiters going forward. Pinckney is a former NCAA champion and Villanova assistant who knows the recruiting ropes as well as anyone. ZagsBlog.com

As for Holberg, he has long been linked to his former team and is tight with Bulls GM Gar Forman. Sources told SNY.tv the Bulls have already talked to Holberg this season. “He has always said from day one that his lifelong goal has been to coach in the NBA,” Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard said of Holberg, according to the Ames Tribune’s Travis Hines. “It’s for him to decide when that part of his life he wants to activate. Now it’s just strictly a decision for him and their family personally, not what he wants to do because he’s made that clear. [The NBA is] what he wants to do. It’s a matter of when he wants to do it.” ZagsBlog.com

If the Bulls do part ways with Thibodeau, it’s unclear who they would target as his replacement. Sources peg Warriors assistant Alvin Gentry as a serious front runner. Basketball Insiders

This is going to be a complicated breakup, with Thibodeau having two years left on his contract -- leverage that each side will try to exploit. Thibodeau won't quit and leave that money on the table, a person close to him said Thursday night. With Thibodeau in high demand on the head coaching market, the Bulls would do well to extract compensation for letting Thibodeau out of his contract -- paving the way for Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg to replace him, and setting off a violent chain reaction in the NBA coaching business. CBSSports.com

"All I basically know is Thibs -- his philosophy, his style of coaching -- so, of course, I want him to stay," Gibson said. "Look at our record. Look at how players have grown over the years through all the ups and downs. You've got to give him a lot of pats on the back for that." CBSSports.com

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