Professional and College Basketball Forums banner

241 - 258 of 258 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,415 Posts
Perhaps, but why so much pressure on Thibs last season to give an average at best rookie like McDermott entitlement minutes? And integrate rookie Mirotic into a logjam at the 4/5 as well. Not very "win now."
You may not believe it's the best "win now" move, but it's pretty clear the FO wanted the youngins to play because it would both preserve vets and make the Bulls deeper. And I think with McDermott there was a particular (and perhaps quite inaccurate) belief that he could contribute right away and be an offensive threat.

Mirotic I'm sure was believed to be a win now player given he was the best player in Europe. Again, may not have been actually true, but that was presumably the FO belief.

At least Mirotic was a 17+ PER player last season under Thibs. Production way down under Hoiball.

And of course publicly smearing the head coach while trying to "win now" is not to go about doing things either.
Well, we've covered quite thoroughly that there was a smear campaign going in both directions, but you just keep your blinders on to that fact. Frankly, neither side comes off looking terribly professional.


The safe bet to answering that question will be "stand pat" and try and make the 1st round of the playoffs.
I'm not going to disagree with you here. This regime has not shown much ability to improve the team at the trade deadline.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
181 Posts
Mirotic I'm sure was believed to be a win now player given he was the best player in Europe. Again, may not have been actually true, but that was presumably the FO belief.
Mirotic was a 17+ PER player in his role under Thibs last season. People were going balisitc for some reason that guys like Gasol, Noah and Gibson were playing more than him but Mirotic was getting minutes and making a solid impact. All 4 of those guys were decent to very good NBA players last season.

And you are right, Mirotic was a more established player due to his Euro exp. Thibs got a lot out of him last year. He did better under Thibs than he is with seemingly unencumbered playing time under Hoiball.

Now when he doesn't get minutes its because he's sucking for the most part. Or in the hospital.


Well, we've covered quite thoroughly that there was a smear campaign going in both directions, but you just keep your blinders on to that fact. Frankly, neither side comes off looking terribly professional.
Actually, Thibs will be the guy with the ring with the Celtics and known for doing a pretty kick ass job with the Bulls. Team USA coach and he'll coach again soon enough in the NBA. He's fine.

Most people see that the FO was trying to turn the team and the media against him and now look very foolish with the Bulls in free fall.

What a bunch of clowns, right? Especially during a season where the Bulls had a clear path to the NBA Finals.

Paxson and his Bulls will remain a bit of a joke. I guess you can just "attack the source" of anyone who reports that though. We're seeing what they are without Thibs doing his thing. Its Freddy Del Hoiberg time.




I'm not going to disagree with you here. This regime has not shown much ability to improve the team at the trade deadline.
In other news, the sun sets in the west.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,415 Posts
Mirotic was a 17+ PER player in his role under Thibs last season. People were going balisitc for some reason that guys like Gasol, Noah and Gibson were playing more than him but Mirotic was getting minutes and making a solid impact. All 4 of those guys were decent to very good NBA players last season.
Do you believe Holberg is making Niko shoot worse? It seems a lot of his regression is just due to people having figured out his pump fake and him not being able to manufacture points for himself.


Now when he doesn't get minutes its because he's sucking for the most part. Or in the hospital.
It's news to me that Niko isn't getting minutes.


Actually, Thibs will be the guy with the ring with the Celtics and known for doing a pretty kick ass job with the Bulls. Team USA coach and he'll coach again soon enough in the NBA. He's fine.

Most people see that the FO was trying to turn the team and the media against him and now look very foolish with the Bulls in free fall.
Well, Pax actually wins the rings competition with Thibs, so I'm not sure I'd go down that road (and it's totally non-responsive to my point).

Last year, I totally agree that the FO attempted to make Thibs look bad in the media. And I agree it's bad form. What is mind-bendingly bizarre is that you act like that was a one-way street. Thibs openly railed against Jen Swanson/minutes limits in the media. He used his close friend JVG to blast the FO during broadcasts (attacks which were frankly more severe than anything the FO did to him). None of this is to excuse the FO's conduct, but the way you frame it is misleading in order to serve your particular agenda.


Paxson and his Bulls will remain a bit of a joke. I guess you can just "attack the source" of anyone who reports that though. We're seeing what they are without Thibs doing his thing. Its Freddy Del Hoiberg time.
You are seemingly now staking out the position in multiple posts that this current roster is very good - potentially an NBA Finals-ready roster, and that the coaching change is the only thing inhibiting it from reaching those heights. I do not agree. We do seem to agree that Fred has not been an improvement, but the team's problems are bigger than just that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
181 Posts
Well, we've covered quite thoroughly that there was a smear campaign going in both directions, but you just keep your blinders on to that fact. Frankly, neither side comes off looking terribly professional.
Its also clear that the front office initiated the exchange, seemingly in an attempt to poison the team and media against the head coach to prepare for an inevitable firing. (unless the team made it to the NBA Finals perhaps) All this was during a season where the Bulls had a legit shot at getting to the NBA Finals.

Any countermeasures taken by Thibs' camp (agent, JVG, etc) were purely defensive and an attempt to preserve the good name of a fine coach. I don't see Team USA or the Celtics saying terrible things about Thibs, and those two organizations have accomplished more than the Paxson Bulls. Paxson Bulls are known for choking and smearing coaches at this point and of course not winning much of consequence. This wasn't a fight Thibs wanted to have. He was playing defense. And of course focusing on winning. Tough to do when being smeared by your bosses though.

Thibs did look professional coming out of it. He's still a super respected coach with a great track record (Celtics, Bulls, Team USA) and will work again.

The Bulls front office on the other hand came out of it looking like a bunch of clowns / bad human beings.

Given the end result was replacing Thibs with Hoiberg its turned out to make the front office look even worse, from a "win now" standpoint at the very least.

Terrible decision to this point.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
181 Posts
Do you believe Holberg is making Niko shoot worse? It seems a lot of his regression is just due to people having figured out his pump fake and him not being able to manufacture points for himself.
Its unclear why much of the team is playing poorer under Hoiberg.

Most troubling


Derrick Rose
PER Last Year: 15.9
PER This Year: 12.4

Former MVP went from being a decent NBA player last season to a bad one this year.

Nikola Mirotic
PER Last Year: 17.9
PER This Year: 14.5

Promising rookie last season with a close to 18 PER. This year he's below average. What a dropoff.


Taj Gibson
PER Last Year: 16.1
PER This Year: 14.6

The always solid Taj under Thibs has been a below average NBA player under Hoiball.

Tony Snell
PER Last Year: 10.2
PER This Year: 6.8

This promising D and 3 guy has turned into a really bad NBA player under Hoiberg. Another younger asset moving in the wrong direction.


Aaron Brooks
PER Last Year: 14.4
PER This Year: 12.2

Our instant offense guy is now a bad NBA player under Hoiball. No DJ / Nate signing this year. No Thibs.

A bit worse

Joakim Noah
PER Last Year: 15.3
PER This Year: 14.2

Worse under Hoiberg. Also hurt under Hoiberg.


Lots of players are doing worse under Hoiberg. Not just Niko.



It's news to me that Niko isn't getting minutes.
Some nights he's getting 15-20. Some nights he's getting more than that.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/4905/gamelog/

On the nights he's getting less minutes, oftentimes its due to poor play.

Many were outraged at Thibs last season for not giving Niko HEAVY minutes ahead of Noah, Gasol, Gibson, etc. He was playing much better under Thibs last season, that's for sure.

That's the case for many of the players though. And the team in general. Hoiball has not been kind to Bulls players or Bulls fans. Awful.


Well, Pax actually wins the rings competition with Thibs, so I'm not sure I'd go down that road (and it's totally non-responsive to my point).
Pax has 0 rings as a front office professional.

Pax's track record is this.

12+ seasons
0 championships
0 NBA Finals appearances
1 ECF appearance.

Those are the the basketball operations. The team does make the first round of the playoffs fairly regularly. That very well might happen again this year, in what is considered to be a failing campaign.


Last year, I totally agree that the FO attempted to make Thibs look bad in the media. And I agree it's bad form. What is mind-bendingly bizarre is that you act like that was a one-way street. Thibs openly railed against Jen Swanson/minutes limits in the media. He used his close friend JVG to blast the FO during broadcasts (attacks which were frankly more severe than anything the FO did to him). None of this is to excuse the FO's conduct, but the way you frame it is misleading in order to serve your particular agenda.
Thibs and people that supported him did try to preserve his good name playing defense against the Bulls smear. That wasn't a fight Thibs wanted to have.



You are seemingly now staking out the position in multiple posts that this current roster is very good - potentially an NBA Finals-ready roster
That was Paxson's position during the Thibs firing press conference last season. He was disappointed that Thibs didn't get this roster (without Portis) to the NBA Finals.

We all saw this roster almost defeat the Cavs in a 7 game series last season as well. It was a Gasol ankle sprain / Lebron missed three away it seemed. How long will it be until we as fans get that close again?

This team under Hoiberg doesn't look like its heading in that direction, despite having mostly the same guys.

Its hard to prove what "the only thing" is behind it and I would never attempt to do that.

One thing that changed for certain is the head coach and you and I seemingly agree that it hasn't been a good move to this point.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,415 Posts
Its also clear that the front office initiated the exchange, seemingly in an attempt to poison the team and media against the head coach to prepare for an inevitable firing. (unless the team made it to the NBA Finals perhaps) All this was during a season where the Bulls had a legit shot at getting to the NBA Finals.

Any countermeasures taken by Thibs' camp (agent, JVG, etc) were purely defensive and an attempt to preserve the good name of a fine coach. I don't see Team USA or the Celtics saying terrible things about Thibs, and those two organizations have accomplished more than the Paxson Bulls. Paxson Bulls are known for choking and smearing coaches at this point and of course not winning much of consequence. This wasn't a fight Thibs wanted to have. He was playing defense. And of course focusing on winning. Tough to do when being smeared by your bosses though.

Thibs did look professional coming out of it. He's still a super respected coach with a great track record (Celtics, Bulls, Team USA) and will work again.

The Bulls front office on the other hand came out of it looking like a bunch of clowns / bad human beings.

Given the end result was replacing Thibs with Hoiberg its turned out to make the front office look even worse, from a "win now" standpoint at the very least.

Terrible decision to this point.

This may be your read on the situation, but it's not supported with facts and is clearly just the interpretation of someone who is inclined to dislike the FO and like the coach. That's fine! You could be right. But I don't think there's any clear evidence that it played out in the manner you suggest.

There is also two wrongs don't make a right, taking the high road, etc. If my boss is acting like an ass, it doesn't mean the right decision for me is to sink down to that level and engage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
181 Posts
This may be your read on the situation, but it's not supported with facts and is clearly just the interpretation of someone who is inclined to dislike the FO and like the coach. That's fine! You could be right. But I don't think there's any clear evidence that it played out in the manner you suggest.
What is the alternate read on the situation? What is yours?

Do you think that Thibs by proxy just started public ally smearing the management for no reason?

The facts are that the media smear against Thibs started before JVG started talking. That's why JVG started talking, to help out his friend who was being pilloried in the media.

What facts am I missing? Fill me in.

Any fan of the Bulls knows that Thibs isn't a slimy lawyer / politician / manager type. He's a guy that is bad/uninterested in playing politics and is 100% devoted to coaching his basketball team and wanted to be left alone to do his job. And my goodness, he did it well. Good times to be a Bulls fan. Unlike the pretty much bad / meaningless times when he wasn't the Bulls coach under Paxson.




What's the plausible alternate take? The one where Thibs initiated this and he wasn't (or his supporters) were not playing defense. State the case.

At the end, Thibs is still one of the more respected coaches in the league and will work again.

Paxson is the head of a dysfunctional basketball operation that is taking on water in a hurry. What a joke.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,297 Posts
Discussion Starter #249
I think it's fair to say that those like myself who never thought Thibs was a problem, are vindicated. I've been saying it for several years now about how bad Garpax are and that we will never win a title under their regimes. It's a lost cause to argue otherwise, so let's move on guys.

Now let's talk about a potential player who I think can really help the bulls out next season and could help Hoiberg look like an actual head coach.... Buddy Hield! He may not be a franchise player, he may lack elite athleticism, supreme handles and size, but I think he would be a fantastic starter in a heavy ball rotation offense that Hoiberg wants to run.

Move Jimmy back to the 3 spot where he can still be a slashing scorer but you HAVE to get a push the pace PG who is a pass first point. Hoiberg also has to grow some balls and tell Jimmy to stop killing the offense.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,415 Posts
What is the alternate read on the situation? What is yours?

Do you think that Thibs by proxy just started public ally smearing the management for no reason?

The facts are that the media smear against Thibs started before JVG started talking. That's why JVG started talking, to help out his friend who was being pilloried in the media.

What facts am I missing? Fill me in.

Any fan of the Bulls knows that Thibs isn't a slimy lawyer / politician / manager type. He's a guy that is bad/uninterested in playing politics and is 100% devoted to coaching his basketball team and wanted to be left alone to do his job. And my goodness, he did it well. Good times to be a Bulls fan. Unlike the pretty much bad / meaningless times when he wasn't the Bulls coach under Paxson.

What's the plausible alternate take? The one where Thibs initiated this and he wasn't (or his supporters) were not playing defense. State the case.

At the end, Thibs is still one of the more respected coaches in the league and will work again.

Paxson is the head of a dysfunctional basketball operation that is taking on water in a hurry. What a joke.

Listen, as I've said repeatedly, I think Thibs is a great coach. I really like him. He got a longer run here than most coaches get, and he's getting paid $9 million not to work. We don't need to feel bad for Thibs.

What is really odd to me is this child-like characterization of what happened. It's all good guys and bad guys. White hats and black hats. It's not possible that it's murkier than that, with fault being properly attributed to everyone involved. Paxson and Gar are slimeballs, while Thibs is "uninterested in playing politics." "Uninterested in playing politics" just means "acts like an asshole," but spun to be somehow virtuous.

In any event, life doesn't normally involve heroes and villains so neatly drawn. Here, it's pretty clear that both sides acted poorly. While I respect that Thibs eked out wins at an impressive rate, that has nothing to do with whether he handled his relationships with Bulls players and management correctly.

If you go back and look at the timeline, the first JVG broadcast comments about the Bulls mistreating coaches really predates most of anything coming from the other side. I'm confident, though, that both sides believe the other started it. I can't find instances of any public Thibs criticism before those first JVG comments, but maybe I'm missing it.

And you can post all the articles you like that criticize the Bulls FO. There's plenty of ammo! But there's plenty of bad reports about Thibs as well.

Thibodeau, for his part, has been defiant with his public comments about the core issue dividing him from the organization: the workload of the Bulls' most important players in the wake of continuing injuries.

In a Thursday interview with USA Today's Sam Amick, Thibodeau defended his full-throttle approach to rotations, pointing to practice habits and the need to build chemistry and continuity.

The war has raged behind the scenes for some time, but now it's being fought through the press, which is a bad look for everybody involved.

It's hard to say that the Bulls' concerns are misplaced. Minutes have been a point of contention with Thibodeau for years. In each of his last two full seasons with the Bulls, Luol Deng led the league in minutes per game, and the 2012-13 season ended in a near-death experience for the two-time All-Star forward when he came down with a bout of viral meningitis.

Thibodeau is working Jimmy Butler similarly hard. Last season, Butler was second in the NBA in minutes per game at 38.7; this season, he's leading the league with 39.5.

At age 34, in his first season with the Bulls, Pau Gasol is averaging 35 minutes per game, the most he's played since the 2011-12 season. His last three seasons with the Lakers were plagued by injuries that prevented him from playing at an All-Star level. This season has been a return to form, but with his age and workload, the risk of burnout is real.

That's to say nothing of Noah, who had knee surgery in the offseason that was more serious than previously thought. He has been playing on a bad knee and ankle all season, looking like a shell of the game-changing force that won the league's Defensive Player of the Year award last season. This isn't the first time Noah has played hurt either: He pushed through a case of plantar fasciitis in his right foot during the 2013 playoffs.

The Bulls have the frontcourt depth to shut Noah down for a few weeks to let him recharge and get healthy, as the Cleveland Cavaliers did with LeBron James earlier this month. A more forward-thinking coach would at least entertain the possibility. Unless the Bulls take the decision out of his hands, Thibodeau is as likely to go for that as Kobe Bryant is to go for early retirement.

But this is who Thibodeau is. This has always been who he is. He's an elite basketball coach, but the same qualities that make him elite—a relentless work ethic, an obsessive dedication to perfection, an encyclopedic knowledge of X's and O's—are the ones that can grate on the wrong group of players. This has always been the case.
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2347058-separation-feels-inevitable-between-tom-thibodeau-chicago-bulls

Thought to be a contender to win the Eastern Conference, the Bulls now look dangerously close to falling apart. Derrick Rose's play has been up and down, center Joakim Noah can't get healthy, breakout star Jimmy Butler is regressing each month, and there seems to be tension between coach Tom Thibodeau and the front office.

At the center of it all is Thibodeau. While Thibodeau is one of the better coaches in the NBA, making the Bulls a perennial playoff team despite a glut of injuries each year, his glaring weakness is minute management for players.

Thibodeau continues to disregard the notion that he overworks players.

There's evidence that heavy minutes are wearing certain Bulls players down, particularly Butler, who began the season as a possible MVP candidate. From November to January, Butler's minutes have hung around 40 per night, but his points per game and field goal percentage have decreased each month. According to the Wall Street Journal, Butler has run an NBA-high 126 total miles this season.
http://www.businessinsider.com/chicago-bulls-slump-leads-to-thibodeau-quesitons-2015-2

Heck, if you want a really even-handed history, Friedell put together an opus on, step by step, how Thibs came to be fired:

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12890745/tom-thibodeau-tenure-chicago-bulls

That story indicates very clearly that Thibs was the first one bristling about the FO - complaining about minutes restrictions. It also puts the Van Gundy comments on the timeline before any other inflammatory public comments, which basically torpedoes your notion that these were mere "countermeasures."

It also indicates Thibs lost the locker room, more or less, which you seem to deny without basis.

But hey, you like Thibs and you hate GarPax, so why let facts get in the way of a good story?

Anyway, I'm not saying all of this because I think the front office handled the Thibs thing well. They didn't, and they've got a history of difficulties with coaches! And I'm not even a big proponent of keeping the FO intact. I'd be perfectly comfortable with a new GM. But to act like it's as one sided as you do just because you've got an axe to grind is simply dishonest.
 

·
X-Mas Taker
Joined
·
8,947 Posts
as far as the front office thibs situation , I don't see any reason not to give thibodeau the benefit of the doubt , he has gotten along with everyone everywhere, whether its the knicks, celts ,team USA before he was the head coach you never heard one bad word about his personality or temperament.

the bulls front office has fired like 4 head coaches now and none of them went well, thibs was not not the 1st coach to lose the team while the FO was actively looking for their replacement, that happened over 12 years ago with cartwright.

as for the current team , I don't know what people expected , this is an old big slow team , its not built to beat people in an uptempo game ,it cant beat teams by outrunning them

its a so-so shooting team , so its not built to consistently outshoot teams .

pace and space style is unwise when your starting point guard is not a good shooter , nor a gifted playmaker

it was doomed from the start because the front office was still trying to blame its former head coach for its woes

and all it did was prove him right by showing the world how pigheaded the bulls front office can be by doggedly sticking to a roster that had lost passion and was a poor fit for its new coach's style of play .

how can a reasonable person be expected to deal with mindsets that are so stuck in their ways they essentially threw this season away on principle?

my opinion is they need to rebuild immediately and bring in guys who will play in the way hoiberg wants so he can establish his own culture.

give him a real chance to succeed
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
181 Posts
But hey, you like Thibs and you hate GarPax, so why let facts get in the way of a good story?
I'll pretty much agree that Thibs is a difficult person to get along with if weaselly lawyer/politician/manager/ front office types start infringing on his head coaching turf. Things like minutes allocation. He certainly bristled against it.

The public leaking of "minutes issues" and "thibs being difficult" and the like is what JVG was initially responding to during his national broadcasts. That story, that constant drumbeat over the last 1.5 of Thibs' tenure was basically created by the Bulls local beat media, who many, including JVG, feel are "in the pocket" of the Bulls org. If you follow the team long enough, which I know you do, you know this is how the Bulls operate.

Those steady streams of leaks were occurring long before JVG said anything on national TV and were what he was responding to.

And its unclear still if JVG was acting independently. JVG says he was. The Bulls Front Office says he wasn't. JVG is a colorful fellow who doesn't like the Bulls front office and is friends with Thibs. The Bulls front office don't exactly have a great track record of professionalism. Paxson attacked Del Negro. Gar has a checkered past to begin with and went after JVG in an unprofessional manner after the JVG broadcast.

----

I'll ask you this. Do you think Thibs was interested in initiating a public media war against the front office last season? Or would he have just been happy coaching his team last season in a drama free manner if he wasn't being undermined by media leaks?

Based on all the years watching him, I think its the latter. Do you think its the former? Its not good guys and bad guys, Thibs is a gruff fellow who links a clear line between the locker room and the front office. The front office knew this when they renewed his contract.

Basically, who started it? And by started it I mean making it into the media shitshow last season became.

The front office wanted more control over minutes, just like they did with Del Negro. Thibs wanted there to be a line.

What did the front office do? Started leaking to the press, as the Bulls often do when they are trying to turn public perception in their favor. Supposedly Thibs "lost the team" and was "hard to get along with."

If last season was "lost the team" under Thibs what the heck to you call what their boy Hoiberg has done?


Well, now they have a real mess on their hands. The players have been taught its OK to disrespect a coach. They saw their organization do it to an elite one last season. Now Jimmy Butler, the best player on the team, a couple times has publicly undermined Hoiberg. Gibson is publicly questioning what is going on. Its a real mess. And one of their own creation.


The Bulls Front Office currently looks like a bunch of clowns and Thibs still has a great reputation. The smear didn't work and it certainly didn't help matters during a season where the Bulls had a clear path to the NBA Finals.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
181 Posts
as far as the front office thibs situation , I don't see any reason not to give thibodeau the benefit of the doubt , he has gotten along with everyone everywhere, whether its the knicks, celts ,team USA before he was the head coach you never heard one bad word about his personality or temperament.

the bulls front office has fired like 4 head coaches now and none of them went well, thibs was not not the 1st coach to lose the team while the FO was actively looking for their replacement, that happened over 12 years ago with cartwright.

This also is a great point and one I try to make.

The Celtics and Team USA have great things to say about Thibs.

Guys like Doc and JVG who have worked with him swear by him. Coach K wants him by his side.

If dopey Paxson the coach choker and Gar can't deal with someone much smarter then them telling them to back off, well, I guess we see what happens then. Thibs walks away and will have a new job soon enough. GarPax look silly and us Bulls fans are stuck with the mess they have created.

Poor Paxson supporters. Their boy has done a bad job in 12+ years. Poor Bulls fans too. :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
181 Posts
Move Jimmy back to the 3 spot where he can still be a slashing scorer but you HAVE to get a push the pace PG who is a pass first point. Hoiberg also has to grow some balls and tell Jimmy to stop killing the offense.

They have a real issue now.

Their best player is publicly taking shots more than once now about against the head coach and how the team operates. He's firing away on all-star weekend it seems.

Not sure how they are going to deal with that. He's been taught its OK to undermine a head coach, and an elite one at that. He's certainly not going to have issues undermining a guy like Hoiberg who is still wet behind the ears if things get rough.

What a mess.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,415 Posts
I'll pretty much agree that Thibs is a difficult person to get along with if weaselly lawyer/politician/manager/ front office types start infringing on his head coaching turf. Things like minutes allocation. He certainly bristled against it.

The public leaking of "minutes issues" and "thibs being difficult" and the like is what JVG was initially responding to during his national broadcasts. That story, that constant drumbeat over the last 1.5 of Thibs' tenure was basically created by the Bulls local beat media, who many, including JVG, feel are "in the pocket" of the Bulls org. If you follow the team long enough, which I know you do, you know this is how the Bulls operate.
Oh, I totally agree that the Bulls FO leaks their desired messages through local beat writers who put food on the table by relaying that sort of info. I more or less view anything that KC says that is of an inside info nature as something that must have come from the FO.

Those steady streams of leaks were occurring long before JVG said anything on national TV and were what he was responding to.

And its unclear still if JVG was acting independently. JVG says he was. The Bulls Front Office says he wasn't. JVG is a colorful fellow who doesn't like the Bulls front office and is friends with Thibs. The Bulls front office don't exactly have a great track record of professionalism. Paxson attacked Del Negro. Gar has a checkered past to begin with and went after JVG in an unprofessional manner after the JVG broadcast.
I think it's pretty naive to think that JVG wasn't a Thibs surrogate when he made those comments. They are very close friends. I wouldn't trash one of my best friend's employers in an extremely public way unless I knew it was kosher to do it. Those JVG comments were in no way subtle. It was a full-on flamethrower.


I'll ask you this. Do you think Thibs was interested in initiating a public media war against the front office last season? Or would he have just been happy coaching his team last season in a drama free manner if he wasn't being undermined by media leaks?
So, given the fact that there were weird-ish leaks going all the way back to Thibs refusing to sign the extension he'd agreed to, it's sort of hard to put a finger on exactly where the drama started and who would have been happy to live with it or without it.

Broadly, here's what I think happened: the FO told Thibs that they were concerned about players being hurt and/or burned out come playoff time, and they were concerned with the health of two players returning from serious knee injuries. Therefore, Thibs was informed that Jen Swanson was going to have the authority to institute minutes limits with respect to players with health concerns.

I think this drove Thibs nuts and he was unable to control himself with the media and accept these strictures. So, when you asked whether Thibs would have kept things out of the media if not undermined by media leaks - no, I think the answer is he absolutely would not have been. Now, if you take away Jen Swanson and anyone having control over players' minutes, then yes, I do think he would have been totally quiet in the media.

So, basically, I think it was taking away his minutes-management authority with respect to certain players that guaranteed there was going to be a media battle.

I also think it was completely appropriate to tell Thibs that he needed to defer to medical staff on minutes and it was totally nuts of Thibs to flip out in response to that. From all reports, the only players on limits were Jo and Derrick, two guys coming off major injuries. It makes all the sense in the world that you'd have actual medical professionals determine how much those could play as opposed to a basketball coach with no medical training.

Based on all the years watching him, I think its the latter. Do you think its the former? Its not good guys and bad guys, Thibs is a gruff fellow who links a clear line between the locker room and the front office. The front office knew this when they renewed his contract.

Basically, who started it? And by started it I mean making it into the media shitshow last season became.

The front office wanted more control over minutes, just like they did with Del Negro. Thibs wanted there to be a line.
So, I agree with this, basically. Thibs believed minutes should be exclusively determined by him, and believed the FO taking over some of that authority through their surrogates was over the line.

I disagree with Thibs on that.

What did the front office do? Started leaking to the press, as the Bulls often do when they are trying to turn public perception in their favor. Supposedly Thibs "lost the team" and was "hard to get along with."
I don't know how much it matters, but I'm not sure that the FO leaks (which I totally agree occurred) predated Thibs bitching to the media about minutes (which also obviously occurred).

In terms of actually losing the team, I don't think those reports come exclusively from the FO. It appeared that the reporters last season who were stating that multiple Bulls would refuse to train in Chicago in the offseason because they couldn't stand to be around Thibs were not just sourced from the FO but were sourced, at least in part, from actual Bulls players.

Put it this way - it seems painfully obvious Thibs wore out his welcome with a very significant portion of the Bulls roster. That is consistent with coaches of Thibs' style. It doesn't make him a bad coach. Most coaches have a limited shelf life. But reading the reports and watching the team in the 2nd half of last season, it's pretty obvious his domineering style had begun to grate on players and many were tuning him out.


If last season was "lost the team" under Thibs what the heck to you call what their boy Hoiberg has done?
Not relevant. As I've said before, you have to evaluate whether Thibs should be fired and whether Fred was the right replacement separately. You aren't going to hear a big Holberg endorsement from me at this point.

Well, now they have a real mess on their hands. The players have been taught its OK to disrespect a coach. They saw their organization do it to an elite one last season. Now Jimmy Butler, the best player on the team, a couple times has publicly undermined Hoiberg. Gibson is publicly questioning what is going on. Its a real mess. And one of their own creation.
I know you are cribbing the whole "taught it's OK to disrespect a coach" from Cowley's article today (without acknowledging the same), but I think that's bogus and there's no evidence for it.

I do agree that Jimmy Buckets seems to have undermined Holberg to a degree. He refuses to be taken out, as has been acknowledged a couple of times, and insists on the big minutes. More than that, by my eyes he is refusing to run the offense and is playing a lot of unscripted ISO ball. He's good at that style, and for all I know it's not contrary to winning, but I'd be shocked if that style of play has been sanctioned by Holberg.

Re: Gibson's comments, or the "damning" ones you referenced earlier today or yesterday from Butler, I don't view those as clear-cut coaching criticisms as you seem to. Both basically are saying that guys aren't playing hard and guys aren't playing D. Is there any reason why a new coach would suddenly have that impact? It seems the ills must go deeper than that.

The Bulls Front Office currently looks like a bunch of clowns and Thibs still has a great reputation. The smear didn't work and it certainly didn't help matters during a season where the Bulls had a clear path to the NBA Finals.
I would agree that the Thibs-FO sniping was not helpful. I would only stress that it was an absolutely two-way street on that front.

I don't think the Bulls FO are considered "clowns" by most, but obviously they don't look good vis a vis the Thibs dismissal and it's not the first time they have had curious difficulty in getting along with coaches.

I agree that overall Thibs has a good reputation and will assuredly be a head coach again. It's also quite obvious that he's a maniac and that some people are freaked out by him. I'm sure you saw in the wake of the Derek Fisher firing in NY that Thibs quickly had someone close to him leak that NY would be his dream job, and then almost instantaneously sources close to Phil Jackson indicated that Thibs was basically the polar opposite of Phil temperament-wise and that he would never hire Thibs. Also, apparently Phil has been toward the whole JVG crowd. So, I'd be shocked if Thibs doesn't have a new gig by next season, but it's also true that there are lots of teams that would want no part of him.

He's a really good coach that hates sports medicine-related issues. He famously rallied against the Bulls when they wanted to implement bio-monitoring systems like the Warriors use. He's kind of a relic, but an extremely talented one. My whole point in our back-and-forth, which you seem to acknowledge to some extent, is that Thibs is no diplomat, and it's been well-reported that the animosity that led to his firing was not all from the FO directed at Thibs. Both sides engaged in some pretty petty behavior and waged a campaign in the media agains the other.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
181 Posts
Its good we agree that most of the local media is pretty much a Bulls front office message machine.

OK, so here’s a version of what could have went down.

And its bigger picture than just Thibs.

The Bulls front office are controlling types who have long wanted to allocate player minutes as they see fit, which is usually under the purview of the head coach.

This was the case with Vinny Del Negro. Paxson didn’t like that Vinny was playing Noah heavy minutes in an attempt to win basketball games. Arguing over this resulted in Paxson physically attacking the head coach. There were no mentions of the buzzwords “sports science” or any Jen Swanons involved publicly. Just a front office executive wanting to control the coaching decisions. Paxson, being the type of person he is, behaved unprofessionally.

Vinny was an average coach at best, which can certainly happen when you decide to hire a guy that has never head coached NBA before, so it was easy to let him go.

Enter Thibs. Thibs turned out to be an elite head coach. Now, Thibs wasn’t the first choice of Gar or Pax. He entered the organization through Uncle Jerry and some outside recommendations. Supposedly Gar and Pax had different first choices.

Thibs doesn’t suffer fools. Thibs believes in a clear line between the locker room and the front office. In a room where Gar, Pax and Thibs are it it, Thibs is the smartest basketball guy in the room and when challenged I imagine will let the other guys know that. He’s gruff. He’s territorial. That’s Thibs. They decided to hire him.

Thibs did a bang up job. Great coach. Sure, he does things his own way and he’s no lawyer/politician type, but he’s a great coach. Lots of winning and the Bulls are one of the elite teams in the NBA.

The Bulls, knowing full well what type of person and coach Thibs is, decided to sign him to a four year extension.

The Rose injury issues plague the team but the team still does better than expected under Thibs. Metrics in hindsight show that Thibs is one of the best coaches of all time in terms of exceeding the preseason expectations of what team should do. He’s considered one of the finest head coaches in the league.

The Bulls front office are still very controlling though and Thibs is getting the “genius” label and treatment. GarPax feels that they are not getting enough credit and Thibs doesn’t suffer fools. A Woj article goes into this in detail. It wrong to just discount what Woj reports IMO, and Bulls front office apologists love to “attack the source” against him,

The Bulls front office decide to exert some authority against their excellent head coach.

They are not going to physically attack him, but they are going to let go his favorite assistant coach in Ron Adams. He doesn’t suffer fools either and apparently told Gar Foreman where to shove it. Now, in a talent industry, it’s a good idea to keep the talent happy and productive for the most part, but the Bulls front office decided to not let one of the best head coaches in the league pick his own assistant coaches anymore.

That’s odd behavior. Head coaches usually get to pick their assistants, especially the elite ones. Ron Adams of course goes to the Warriors and does a bang up job there.

Now the minutes thing comes up again. GarPax decides they know what is best and want to exert even more control over Thibs. Now it’s the minutes thing again, just like with Del Negro. Arguing with the coach / physically attacking him isn’t going to work.

He doesn’t suffer fools. Also, he’s unquestionably one of the best coaches in the league, so you can’t call him incompetent. Enter the Bulls smear machine.

Hire a Jen Swanson and couch minutes control using “sports science.” Use the expert to exert the control they wanted with Del Negro. This time they do it a bit smarter. Thibs of course bristles against this. Everyone knows he will, because that’s how he is.

Minutes are dictated by the coach. They knew this when they signed him to an extension. If you didn’t want a coach that felt that way, don’t give Thibs an extension or hire him to begin with.

Thibs grumbles to the media at times but still works as a professional. He certainly doesn’t lose it or go nuts. He certainly doesn’t physically attack GarPax. He “does his job.” I would also imagine he either explicitly tells or infers behind the scenes that

Paxson et all should just leave him alone and they don’t really know what they are talking about. He doesn’t suffer fools.

The Bulls Org want to start beating the drum of running Thibs out of town. They want to Ron Adams him, but he’s one of the best coaches in the league and beloved by most of the fans. They have to smear him. The players are super loyal to him, so they have to get Swanson and that team in their ear. “Does he really have your best interests at heart?” “Other teams don’t work this hard” That type of thing.

“Thibs plays his players too many minutes.” Get that to be the story the media focuses on day after day.

“Thibs doesn’t embrace sports science” “Thibs doesn’t like wearable tech” “Thibs is losing the team”

What he does do is excel at being a NBA Head Coach at an elite level, but that isn’t the story anymore.

The Bulls didn’t adopt “sports science.” The front office just wanted to control minutes allocation and such, just like with Del Negro, and were just using that as the vehicle to get the control they wanted. If this organization really embraces “sports science” Butler would not be leading the league in MPG right now. Most of the organizations that do this “smartly” don’t play their players heavy minutes like that. If Butler is playing heavy minutes because he is defying the will of the coach and the front office, well, that’s just a silly thought or another sign of the Bulls current organization dysfunction.

Anyway, enough of that aside.

The smear is underway. Thibs isn’t going to politic to the media and openly call out the front office. He might grumble but he “does his job” but his good name and reputation are being sullied by the Bulls org. Enter the JVG salvo.

JVG doesn’t like the Bulls Org to begin with and is friends with Thibs. Did Thibs instruct
JVG to say what he said or did JVG decide to speak on his own on behalf of his friend? Or did Thibs’ agent or something like that decide to help Thibs help himself? I don’t know that and you don’t either. Thibs seems like a guy that is content to coach his basketball team and win basketball games. I imagine it really sucks to have snakes sullying your good name in public. Even worse if its your employer who you have done a great job for, but I don’t think anyone knows for sure how the JVG stuff came about.

The Bulls Org has most of the Chicago media under their control. What devices does Thibs have? I would not fault Thibs for trying to counterpunch. What’s the alternative, just let your reputation be destroyed? Most of what JVG said is true. The Bulls front office doesn’t like it when scrutiny is thrown their way in the media.

The smear machine should not have been turned against Thibs to begin with, especially during a season where the Bulls had a legit shot to make the Finals. But, that isn’t how the Bulls org operates.

Anyway, then the shit really hits the fan, since the Bulls front office are the ones who behave like maniacs on the rare occasion they lose control of the media. If it was a local guy, his or her career would be over or he’d be “joe Cowleyed.” Respected national guys like Woj, who you love to attack the source, also begin telling their story.

The Bulls front office can’t control the national media, so you get a very different take on the issue than the one you get from the Chicago media. The radically different reporting on the same issue, combined with knowing that the local media is basically under the control of the Bulls org, indicates that something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

Thibs behaves professionally on the way out. The Bulls front office does not, ending with the terrible press release from the Bulls Org on the day of his firing.

Now that Thibs is gone, we really see what “lost the team” looks like. The team is playing poorly. The star player is saying he needs to be coached harder. He’s also playing heavy minutes and gets hurt. This minutes thing was supposed to be one of the failings of Thibs, and after all that Butler is playing heavy minutes under Hoiberg and get hurt. Gasol is still playing heavy minutes under Hoiberg for his age. The minutes restriction is lifted for Rose apparently but who cares, he’s a 12 PER player now under Hoiberg. Noah is out for the year under Hoiberg.

It doesn’t appear that the coaching change helps in any way.

Are they all geared up in wearable tech now? Does it really matter if the team isn’t relevant anymore?

If Thibs “lost the team” winning 50 games and almost knocking off the Cavs, I don’t know what you call this.

If playing Butler the most minutes in the league is what happens when the “anti sports science” coach is let go do the Bulls Org really embrace those principles or were they just being used to smear / exert control.

Or maybe its just incompetence. The Bulls Org under Paxson hasn’t done much without Thibs as the coach.

Thibs had a great career before the Bulls, left the Bulls considered one of the best coaches in the NBA and will work again soon enough. The years when he was coaching the team were the best years to be a Bulls fan since MJ. Good times.

The front office got what they wanted. A head coach that will let them control what they want to control. This Thibs-less team so far is worse off and many fans are starting to find the product unwatchable.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,415 Posts
Your story is plausible enough, save for a few details here and there. I'm not even sure it's that different than mine, other than being told from the perspective of Thibs.

I would say, though, that "not suffering fools" just means acting like an asshole to your bosses, which isn't ok in any workplace. Even if GarPax suck, they are still the bosses.

Long story short, I've spilled enough words on the topic at this point. I think it's totally appropriate that the FO institute minutes limits for injured players, and disagree that this is somehow the purview of the coach. (Uninjured players, yes.) Thibs had every reason to know minutes limits for injured players would be part of the deal, because he knew VDN got choked over it. Yet, he couldn't handle it when the inevitable came. Hence the conflict that led to his termination.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
181 Posts
Your story is plausible enough, save for a few details here and there. I'm not even sure it's that different than mine, other than being told from the perspective of Thibs.

I would say, though, that "not suffering fools" just means acting like an asshole to your bosses, which isn't ok in any workplace. Even if GarPax suck, they are still the bosses.
I totally think Thibs can be an asshole to meddling bosses. If they didn't know that when they initially hired him they had to have when they extended his contract.

I think it's totally appropriate that the FO institute minutes limits for injured players, and disagree that this is somehow the purview of the coach. (Uninjured players, yes.) Thibs had every reason to know minutes limits for injured players would be part of the deal, because he knew VDN got choked over it. Yet, he couldn't handle it when the inevitable came. Hence the conflict that led to his termination.
I guess the thing is he did handle it. He still worked hard last season and abided by the minutes restrictions. At times there was mild grumbling from him to the press (Noah reached his minutes limit game) and I imagine there was much more than that going on behind the scenes, but he did his job and was graceful on his exit and since.

The JVG stuff was a lightning rod. I think I have stated how I feel about that.

Also, this situation didn't rear its head, publicly at least until after his extension. The Fridell timeline says that Gar "had enough" after the Bobcats game in April 2014. You don't "re-up" Thibs if you are planning on imposing minutes restrictions. Or if you decide to do that, don't be surprised on how he reacts.

Its a shame that GarPax decided to go to war with him during a season where the Bulls could have made the Finals. If they wanted to fire him, sack up and fire him, the smear isn't needed. And it didn't really work well. The Bulls FO came out of it looking pretty terrible and Thibs is still a respected guy in the NBA.

Well, now we have a coach that will do pretty much whatever GarPax wants I imagine. GarPax got their way.
 
241 - 258 of 258 Posts
Top