HoopsHype Chicago Bulls rumors

Roster | Salaries | On Twitter | Twitters | Instagram

CHICAGO BULLS VIDEOS

January 21, 2015 Updates

As far as this idea that Thibodeau was losing the locker room or the players were tired of his grind-it-out mentality, that seemed to be an idea very lost on Gasol. “That was not a concern,’’ Gasol said. “To me, honestly, I don’t think Tom is that hardcore. I don’t think we practice that hard. We do what we need to do, and he tries his best with us just like we try our best. We have to get on the same page, not really pointing fingers but being positive with each other.’’ Chicago Sun-Times

I wrote last week that Chicago Bulls big man Joakim Noah has privately expressed concerns about his left knee, surgically repaired last spring for torn cartilage, according to a source, while publicly saying it is coming along fine. Sources close to Noah insist the knee is improving and that the greater issue with his diminished statistics and struggle to defend his Defensive Player of the Year title has to do with having to spend more time away from the basket defensively, thanks to the addition of Pau Gasol. While Gasol has significantly boosted Chicago's offense, a case could be made that he is allowing more points than he is producing. Noah is so frustrated, one source said, that he'd welcome coming off the bench to play his normal center position rather than continue to defend stretch 4s and not be in position to quarterback the defense. Bleacher Report

"Chicago, Toronto and Washington are all better built for the playoffs than Atlanta," said one Eastern Conference executive, "because they have size and at least one guy who can break you down." The disciples contend that the Spurs already laid waste to the need for all that by winning a championship—and nearly winning two—that relied as much on Kawhi Leonard, Boris Diaw and Danny Green as it did Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, who have been a Big Three in name more than reality for the last several years. Today's NBA, with its zone defenses, profusion of three-point shooting and diminished physicality is more akin to guerrilla warfare—flexibility and versatility at both ends of the floor being more important than a singular matchup or three. "I would definitely think the model now is a team that plays stronger together than just having a couple of superstars," said one Western Conference scout. Bleacher Report

The value of the New York Knicks shot up 79% to $2.5 billion, ranking the team second overall (the Knicks edged out the Lakers last year). Ratings for Knicks games on MSG fell 29% as the team stumbled to a 37-45 record, but the team still drew the biggest TV audience in the NBA at 163,000 viewers per game on average. The Knicks’ income fell 45% last season after missing the playoffs and incurring a $36 million luxury tax bill. Rounding out the top five are the Chicago Bulls ($2 billion), Boston Celtics ($1.7 billion) and Los Angeles Clippers ($1.6 billion). Forbes.com

But why, after the Bulls rattled off 13 wins in 15 games last month, would things suddenly take such a turn for the worse? Why would a team that usually plays so hard start rolling over and not fighting back for long stretches? Why would a team defined by intensity go long stretches without showing any? "That's a great question," Thibodeau said. "We're going to continue to look at it. [We have] a lot of moving parts, hard to build continuity. We have to find some continuity. Maybe we look at different people. I'm going to think about it, study the film, and try to come up with some answers." ESPN.com

As frustrated as Thibodeau makes them at times, and as much of a taskmaster as he can be, there isn't the sense that he has lost his team. His players hate his guts sometimes, but they are too proud to quit on him now. Rose, Gibson and Joakim Noah have invested way too much of their professional careers in Thibodeau's system to stop playing hard in the middle of a season. They believe they can win a title with this group and they remain confident they can turn this around once they get fully healthy. If Thibodeau's principles have taught his players anything over the past five years, it's that they can't quit when times get tough. ESPN.com

"It comes from within," Gibson said. "There's nothing more you can say. It's all about how much heart you have and how determined you're going to be. Like Thibs said before, we got to practice harder. We can't take days off. "Like Thibs said, everybody's got to put a little bit more into the jar." ESPN.com

January 20, 2015 Updates

A source close to the Bulls tells SheridanHoops that eating the remaining money (roughly $11 million) and years (two after this season) on Thibodeau’s contract will not be a concern to management or ownership if they decide to fire him. The feeling among some players in the locker room is that Thibodeau is simply too hardcore, too much of an oddball personality, and runs his best players into the ground both in practices and games. SheridanHoops

So in a case like this one, if Thibodeau has lost his locker room, he should not expect a ton of support from management. People close to the organization have told me that relations between Thibodeau and the front office have improved in the two years since assistant coach Ron Adams was let go against Thibodeau’s wishes, but I have heard enough anecdotes from people close to the team to realize that Thibodeau still views Bulls management with a jaundiced eye. And some have told me that team president John Paxson remains lukewarm at best regarding Thibs. SheridanHoops

So you can be damn sure that Thibodeau’s job will be on the line as the Bulls, losers of four of their last five, begin a brutal stretch that includes games against the Spurs, Mavericks, Warriors and Suns before the end of January. The pre-All Star break schedule concludes with a home game against the Cavaliers — but it should be noted that Chicago does not exactly enjoy a home court advantage. They are 12-10 at home and 15-6 on the road. SheridanHoops

Nick Friedell: Well, the Bulls just cancelled practice. Maybe the players' voices won out after three games in four nights. Twitter @NickFriedell

After watching his team give another lackluster effort and lose for the sixth time in the past eight games with a 108-94 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night, the former MVP delivered some emotional words. "Everybody has to be on the same page," Rose said. "Until then, we're going to continue to get our ass kicked." Asked who was not on the same page, Rose was quick with a response. "It's just the whole team," he said. ESPN.com

"I think communication is huge," Rose said. "We're quiet when we're out there, and it's leading to them getting easy baskets. We got to give a better effort. It seems like we're not even competing, and it's f---ing irritating." Thibodeau didn't mince words while discussing his team's most recent disappointing performance. "We got to decide when enough's enough," Thibodeau said. "The way we're playing is not acceptable so we have to change it." ESPN.com

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS IN BULLS HISTORY

Very few doubts with the Top 2, but who comes after Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen?

   

Any rumor missing? E-mail us at   hoopshype@hoopshype.com.