HoopsHype Tom Thibodeau rumors

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February 6, 2015 Updates

Orlando will begin a national coaching search and, according to sources, plans to cast a wide net. Scott Skiles, the former Magic guard, is a leading candidate. Mark Jackson, Mike Malone and Vinny Del Negro figure to eventually be on the interview list. If the Magic go with a stop-gap the rest of the season -- assistant coach James Borrego is the interim coach -- several league sources believe Orlando could make a run at Chicago’s Tom Thibodeau, should the relationship between Thibodeau and the Bulls become too toxic to continue. Sports Illustrated

February 5, 2015 Updates
January 30, 2015 Updates

What about the idea that no one in the league pushes their players quite like you do? Do you even agree with that premise that has essentially become like gospel? Tom Thibodeau: No. Listen, I've been around a long time. There are so many different ways to pace your team. Like everyone, (outsiders) look at minutes but they don't know what's going on in practice. They don't know how much contact you have (in practice). They don't know what your philosophy is in terms of days off. Is (practice) after back to backs? Is first day of a road trip? Is (practice) a day off after never more than three consecutive days? Whatever it might be, there's a lot that goes into it. But you also — if you're looking at performance and how you can get the best out of people — there's a reason why teams have success over a long period of time. You have to have core values. What do you believe in? Do you believe in hard work? Do you believe in discipline? Do you believe in conditioning? Because those are the things I know that do work. USA Today Sports

What's your pulse of your locker room? Some folks have indicated that there may be a disconnect with you and your guys. How do you see that? Tom Thibodeau: I work every day. I'm not going in there taking their temperature. It's like, "Hey, my job is to be consistent." Come in every day. Give them a good plan. I want them to be able to count on me to tell them the truth. And when it's not good enough, I have to tell them that. I also have to tell them what we have to do to correct it. That's part of my job, so I want them to be able to count on me, to know that I'm not taking a shortcut, I'm going to put the work in and try to come up with answers. We've just to keep improving. It's really simple. USA Today Sports

January 29, 2015 Updates

"There's no truth to it at all," Rose told USA TODAY Sports this week when asked if Thibodeau had lost his locker room. "Thibs, he's been doing a great job of preparing us — every game, every practice, every shoot-around. He's been preparing us great. As far as us coming out and losing games, it has to do with the team, the players, coming out and not playing with enough effort and not competing while we're on the floor. That's been some of the biggest reasons why we were in those tough positions and losing those games, but it doesn't have anything to do with the coach or the coaching staff." USA Today Sports

"I wouldn't say so," he told USA TODAY Sports when asked if Thibodeau was pushing too hard when it came to managing minutes and the team's practice routines. "That has nothing to do with coming out on the court and being down 20 in the first quarter. That's straight effort, and your will to go out there and win the game. Just like the other night, we came out – we beat San Antonio, beat Dallas, then lost to Miami at home. It has nothing to do with (Thibodeau). It's just with the players. We've just got to catch onto it, and just try to get better and just try to learn from our mistakes." USA Today Sports

"You want to be a championship team, there's a price to pay," Thibodeau declares. "And that's what you have to do. There's no shortcuts. You can't shortcut your way to success … I'm going to give everything I have each and every day, and I have no regrets." USA Today Sports

Q: Tom, you're getting asked about your coaching style quite a bit these days, from the managing of minutes to practice habits and all those kinds of things. Any part of you feel like there's too much focus on that aspect of your guys' season? Tom Thibodeau: "To me, it's not a big deal. If you coach in this league, it's part of the territory. They're going to criticize you for something. You have to stand by what you believe in, and I don't believe that we lost in the playoffs (last season) because we were out of gas. If you look at what we've done the second half of the season (in the past), we've always done extremely well the second half of the season. Now you get to the playoffs, and when you're down a Derrick Rose and you're down a Luol Deng and you're down a Joakim Noah, now it's different. Once you get to the playoffs, now it becomes more equal talent. Maybe we lost because we were shorthanded. That's the way I look at it. USA Today Sports

But it also underscored how, despite last week's team meeting instead of a practice, Thibodeau isn't going to change, even while the speculation about his long-term future with the Bulls continues. Despite the two seasons left on the four-year extension Thibodeau took several months to sign in the 2012-13 season, several league sources believe Thibodeau's relationship with management is beyond repair. And while there are no plans to replace Thibodeau during the season, a mutual parting of the ways after this season wouldn't surprise many league personnel familiar with the deteriorating dynamic. Chicago Tribune

"The only way you can improve execution and timing is really through repetition," Thibodeau said. "The only way you get repetition is you have to practice. … There's the school of thought that less minutes are better. There's also the school of thought that when you do less, you also become deconditioned." This is how Thibodeau coaches. This is how he will continue to coach. "No one talks about Phil," he said. "Phil has won more championships than anybody, and he played his main guys big minutes. Pau (Gasol) never averaged less than 371/2 minutes under Phil." Chicago Tribune

January 26, 2015 Updates

As brilliant an analyst as Jeff Van Gundy is, there's little question he has a pro-coach agenda. While criticism towards players and executives is common in his commentary during TV and radio broadcasts, you rarely ever hear him say anything negative about coaching staffs. This pattern has been clear when discussing the Bulls' management dealings with the team's last two head coaches - Vinny Del Negro and Tom Thibodeau. HoopsHype

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

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