HoopsHype Tom Thibodeau rumors

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January 26, 2015 Updates

As far as I know, the only media member to suggest the hot seat theory in writing was Chris Sheridan of Sheridanhoops.com, a national NBA site. Van Gundy seems to believe Bulls management promoted this idea behind the scenes, but let's let JVG speak for himself. “He has done such a good job here," Van Gundy said during the broadcast. "First two years had the best record in the league. Unfortunately, these last three playoffs have been disrupted by injury. But he came to the Bulls at a time where mediocrity reigned. They had struggled for a long time, they were basically a .500 team. Along with the emergence of some players, he's taken it to elite status. “I think right now, it's almost criminal … what he's having to endure with some of the fringe media – attacking his job status, attacking his personality. This isn't new to Chicago Bulls basketball, all the way back to Phil Jackson. The team has publicly supported their coach while privately, often times, undermining that same person. You saw it with Vinny Del Negro, Scott Skiles. Think about it, they ran out Phil Jackson out after winning all those championships. “I think it's wrong. It's wrong for the town, wrong for the team and it certainly has not been fair to Tom Thibodeau." Arlington Heights Daily Herald

Van Gundy went on to spread his criticism to the Chicago media. “Listen, I read every Chicago story and there is no doubt that the Bulls organization has the media, with a few exceptions, in their hip pocket," he said. "And for whatever reason, they have taken their sights on Thibodeau when all he's done is deliver greatness here in his five years." Arlington Heights Daily Herald

Asked if he feels he has management's support, Thibodeau said: "I'm fine. I don't get wrapped up in that stuff. That's (Van Gundy's) opinion. He's paid to give opinions. He has to do his job. I try to do my job. I'm just trying to work here. ... My job is to coach the team. That's what I worry about. (Van Gundy) doesn't speak for me. I don't speak for him." Chicago Tribune

Look, Thibodeau is a workaholic when it comes to preparation and effort and he expects his players to do the same -- wait, no, he believes in that as the surest way to success. Every player in uniform is at his disposal, which might make some linger a little longer now in street clothes when they've been hurting. Management's imposed limits on minutes, for Derrick Rose and Noah in particular, has led to the coach straining some at the leash. He and his bosses have had frictions in the past, though GM Gar Forman dismissed this week's drama as any sort of story. NBA.com

Besides, the idea that, merely halfway through a season begun with championship hopes, the locker room would be on the verge of mutiny vs. Thibodeau -- who'd be snatched up in 48 hours to steer some other contenders' defense toward the Finals, if he wanted that -- was silly. At best, if the "insiders say" stuff were true, it would reveal an immaturity and lack of seriousness within the ranks. NBA.com

"This don't have anything to do with Thibs at all," Rose said. " The way we've been playing don't have anything to do with Thibs. He's preparing us right. Everything he's doing, everything he did, everything possible to prepare us as a coach. It's up to the players to give the effort." NBA.com

January 22, 2015 Updates
January 21, 2015 Updates

Thibodeau wasted very little time – or words – dwelling on the “hot seat’’ topic following the Wednesday practice, saying “Could care less, I could,’’ when asked for a reaction of the rumors. His front office was equally dismissive. “No,’’ general manager Gar Forman said in a text, when asked if there had been discussions about Thibodeau’s job security. “It’s not a story.’’ Chicago Sun-Times

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

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

"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

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