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May 30, 2015 Updates

The timing may be different, but the conclusions from conversations with people familiar with the Bulls' pursuit of Fred Hoiberg are the same. Hoiberg will accept and be introduced as Bulls coach next week before the NBA Finals begin Thursday to allow Iowa State to begin its replacement search formally and break its recruiting stalemate. Hoiberg will accept the Bulls job next week but not be introduced for a few weeks for family schooling considerations. Chicago Tribune

Whatever the case, sources continue to indicate that Hoiberg, barring an unexpected negotiation snag or change of heart, will replace Tom Thibodeau as the 19th coach in franchise history. Some have even speculated the Bulls and their former guard have an oral agreement in place, with only the contract details and introduction to be finalized. Chicago Tribune

Hoiberg understandably has kept a low profile since undergoing his second heart surgery in 10 years April 17, this time to replace an aortic valve. Doctors expressed confidence to Hoiberg that he wouldn't need another procedure, a source said. Chicago Tribune

May 29, 2015 Updates

Remember former Jerry Krause's notorious comment that "organizations win championships?" And the bad blood between Krause and coach Phil Jackson, and Krause and stars Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen? This was that, the same mood, just different principals. One NBA coach referred to Friday's events in Chicago as "a crucifixion." Another spoke of "the knife Reinsdorf stabbed in Thibodeau's back" on the way out. NBA.com

Sam: I do have to defend the Bulls on this one as it has become sort of a smear campaign, that big lie thing that if you say a lie often enough people will believe it. The parting with Vinnie went badly and John Paxson did regret the events and apologized. As a result, he hasn’t had much interaction with Thibodeau. But the Bulls often have been more generous to their coaches than I would have been. Doug Collins and Jackson still remain close with Bulls management, Paxson and Collins still emailing almost weekly. Collins received championship jewelry from the team to thank him for his contributions even though he was fired two years before the first title. And despite Jerry Krause’s open courtship of Tim Floyd, Reinsdorf offered Jackson a multiyear deal at the league’s highest salary to begin a post-Jordan rebuilding. Jackson declined as he didn’t want to be involved in rebuilding. Tim Floyd quit and Reinsdorf paid him the full two years left on his contract. Scott Skiles told management he couldn’t coach the players anymore. They let him go, but they cancelled the offset in his contract so he could go to the Bucks and double dip with two salaries instead of the Bulls getting his Bucks salary. And though there was bitterness at Thibodeau’s discharge, no one in 20 years had hired Thibodeau to be head coach until the Bulls did. And then they gave him a generous contract extension and he’ll make $9 million the next two years. It doesn’t exactly suggest a pattern of coaching abuse. NBA.com

“Jimmy never wanted to do anything until he felt that he was worthy of it,” says Happy Walters, Butler's agent at Los Angeles-based Relativity Sports. ”Now he's more confident and more willing.” Butler, who declined an interview request about his business profile, is selective in what he promotes, his agent says. Out of personal preference, he opted to drop Adidas as his official apparel brand in favor of Nike's Jordan brand last year, taking what Walters says was a 75 percent pay cut. Crain's Chicago Business

The Bulls fired Tom Thibodeau Thursday. Sources told CBSSports.com that Hoiberg is the leading candidate to replace Thibodeau -- and that Chicago's front office has viewed him that way for months. One source went so far as to suggest a "gentleman's agreement" between Hoiberg and the Bulls is in place, which would explain Pollard already working on replacing him. Sources told CBSSports.com that Hoiberg has been upfront with Pollard throughout the process. "[Hoiberg has] always said from Day 1 that his lifelong goal has been to coach in the NBA," Pollard reportedly told a group of Iowa State fans earlier this month. CBSSports.com

Over and over, those listening to John Paxson and Gar Forman would tell you that Bulls management could never make peace with the praise heaped upon Thibodeau for 60-victory seasons and deep playoff runs. For them, it was too much about the best defense in the NBA, too much about his development of journeymen into rotation contributors, good players into All-Stars, great players into an MVP. Yahoo! Sports

Those close to Thibodeau say that Reinsdorf's statement stung the coach on Thursday, that he had treasured his relationship with the owner. Thibodeau has always admired Reinsdorf's accomplishments – a self-made tycoon, a successful sports and media mogul – and always felt that Reinsdorf had been an ally for him. Reinsdorf wasn't around much, though, and talked far more with management than the coach. Thibodeau lost Reinsdorf in the past year, and ultimately lost the job. Yahoo! Sports

Everyone carries a reputation, and Thibs’ was a lack of the convivial coaching personality, a man with his head down. There weren’t many good morning greetings from Thibs, assuming he knew if it was morning. It would eventually prove his downfall in many respects since sports require partnerships, give and take, sacrifice and compromise. NBA.com

Thibodeau never was a great one for compromise, perhaps because his life hasn’t included much. No wife, no kids, nothing but basketball. It became legendary around Thibodeau, the late nights and early mornings in the office, bolting out when a player arrived to run him through some drill, players even laughing how they’d tip toe in sometimes so Thibs wouldn’t catch them and put them through some midnight exercise. It was all fun and smiles when they were winning 62 games. NBA.com

A recent conversation with an NBA veteran familiar with Tom Thibodeau’s ways ended with a revelation. The player spoke of his head coach’s open-door policy (literal, not figurative) and how empowered he felt to inform his coach when he needed a rest, either in a game or practice. When I asked if the Bulls players had that same freedom, that ability to give Thibodeau input on their level of freshness or exhaustion, the player looked down at my recording device until I hit stop. “Never,” he replied. Chicago Tribune


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


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