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May 15, 2015 Updates

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

Yet there's little mystery surrounding what both sides want. The story is the same no matter who you check with: Thibodeau and his front-office superiors John Paxson and Gar Forman, despite their public pronouncements to the contrary, are utterly done with each other. As one source close to the situation puts it: "Thibs is gone. They know it and he knows it." ESPN.com

A largely insignificant second half expedited myriad questions facing the Bulls this offseason. The most pressing, and the one that could alter the course of the franchise, concerned Thibodeau's future in Chicago. Tension boiled all season between the gruff fifth-year coach and management over various players' minutes. There were other sticking points, but that's been an issue throughout his tenure because of the way in which injuries defined the Bulls' last few seasons. "Until they tell me I'm not, I expect to be here," he said. "That's the way I'm approaching it." USA Today Sports

The unusual part of the Thibodeau-Bulls power struggle is that he hasn’t lost the locker room at all, despite his notoriously hard-driving style. On the contrary, players overwhelmingly voiced their support for the coach in the locker room. “If it was up to me, he’d be back,” said Derrick Rose. Added Joakim Noah: “I think Thibs is a hard worker who always had us prepared.” Said Taj Gibson: “If you want to be coached and pushed, Thibs is the coach for you. If you don’t want to get better, this isn’t the team for you.” NBCSports.com

Luring Hoiberg out of his beloved Ames, Iowa, and the tremendous comfort zone he has in the college game doesn't figure to be so simple. Especially not after Hoiberg so recently found himself hospitalized to undergo his second major heart procedure in the span of a decade. But the Bulls are said to like their chances, presumably thanks to the fact that Hoiberg and Forman -- in stark contrast to Thibodeau's relationship with management -- are said to be good pals. Friends to the point that, as legend has it, Forman bought Hoiberg's old house in Chicago. ESPN.com

It should be noted that an alternative scenario making the rounds holds that the Bulls, if they can't get Hoiberg, will strongly consider promoting longtime Thibs aide Adrian Griffin, who is often touted as future head-coaching material and who, given the chance, just might be able to preserve the best of Thibs' principles with a good bit less friction between the coach and the folks upstairs. ESPN.com

The New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, sources say, are only the two teams you hear about most when it comes to making runs at Butler. There will most definitely be others, no matter how often the Bulls say in the coming days -- and you'll hear it a ton -- that they intend to match any offer he gets. ESPN.com

While seemingly a distant memory, the Bulls were up 2-1 in the series. They had Game 4 on their homecourt with a chance to maintain homecourt advantage. It was a chance they'd been waiting for for years, given Rose's history with injuries. But they blew a seven-point lead entering the fourth quarter, lost any sense of offense and eventually fell on a thrilling James buzzer-beater from the corner. The series flipped on James' make. "I guess, yeah," said Joakim Noah, admitting that maybe the Bulls had missed their shot. "The reality is there's no more basketball. There's no more practices. There's no more meetings with this group. That's always hard and always take a little time to digest." USA Today Sports

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