Bulls

Tom Thibodeau dismissed as Bulls head coach

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Tom Thibodeau dismissed as Bulls head coach

In what seemed to be a foregone conclusion, the Bulls announced the firing of coach Tom Thibodeau after five seasons in Chicago.

The 2011 NBA Coach of the Year had a record of 255-139 during his tenure, including a trip to the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals that resulted in a five-game loss to the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers. Only Erik Spoelstra, Gregg Popovich and Scott Brooks had more wins during that time, which for Thibodeau was marked by controversy and friction between himself and the front office.

It was alluded to in a statement from Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.

[MORE BULLS: Breakdown in communication seemed to play a part in Thibodeau's firing]

“The Chicago Bulls have a history of achieving great success on and off the court," Reinsdorf said. "These accomplishments have been possible because of an organizational culture where input from all parts of the organization has been welcomed and valued, there has been a willingness to participate in a free flow of information, and there have been clear and consistent goals.

"While the head of each department of the organization must be free to make final decisions regarding his department, there must be free and open interdepartmental discussion and consideration of everyone's ideas and opinions. These internal discussions must not be considered an invasion of turf, and must remain private. Teams that consistently perform at the highest levels are able to come together and be unified across the organization-staff, players, coaches, management and ownership. When everyone is on the same page, trust develops and teams can grow and succeed together.

"Unfortunately, there has been a departure from this culture.  To ensure that the Chicago Bulls can continue to grow and succeed, we have decided that a change in the head coaching position is required. Days like today are difficult, but necessary for us to achieve our goals and fulfill our commitments to our fans. I appreciate the contributions that Tom Thibodeau made to the Bulls organization. I have always respected his love of the game and wish him well in the future.”

[MORE BULLS: Fred Hoiberg leading candidate to replace Tom Thibodeau]

Thibodeau brought a hoarse voice, dogged preparation and a defensive intensity from his days as a Boston Celtics assistant coach, the mastermind of a team that won the 2008 title and took the Los Angeles Lakers to the final minutes of a Game 7 two years later.

Thibodeau put his stamp on the Bulls' franchise from the moment he arrived, but had to deal with short-handed teams that dealt with injuries year after year, starting with Derrick Rose's blown-out knee in the 2012 playoffs.

This season was long thought to be the last stand for Thibodeau, who had two years on his contract but had a seemingly championship-ready roster with the addition of Pau Gasol and the return of Rose after the former MVP missed nearly two full years with injury.

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But it seemed to be a microcosm of Thibodeau's time, where the Bulls went through the season barely seeing their starting five on the floor and not putting enough consistency together to vault them to true championship conversation.

Thibodeau's voice seemed to wane with his team this year, one marked by minute restrictions, up-and-down intensity and a disappointing ending in the Eastern Conference semifinals, a six-game loss to the Finals-bound Cleveland Cavaliers.

And the discord between he and Gar Forman and John Paxson always seemed to be swirling in the background, bubbling to the foreground on several occasions this season.

"When Tom was hired in 2010, he was right for our team and system at that time, and over the last five years we have had some success with Tom as our head coach,” Forman said. “But as we looked ahead and evaluated how we as a team and an organization could continue to grow and improve, we believed a change in approach was needed."

And now the Bulls will be on the hunt for a coach to take them to the next level, with many expecting Iowa State head coach and former Bull Fred Hoiberg to become the next coach.

Check out the video below as Goodwill joined Thursday's Kap and Haugh Show to discuss the Bulls' firing of Thibodeau:

Jimmy Butler's injury produced memories for Zach LaVine, Fred Hoiberg

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USA TODAY

Jimmy Butler's injury produced memories for Zach LaVine, Fred Hoiberg

MINNEAPOLIS — That feeling of having your knee buckle out of nowhere, Zach LaVine is all-too familiar with it.

That feeling of being on the sidelines and watching Jimmy Butler’s knee give out, Fred Hoiberg has been there, too.

Different perspectives, and different reactions but Butler’s knee injury produced a sick feeling to many who watched it Friday night. Butler turned to pivot in the Timberwolves’ game against the Houston Rockets and immediately collapsed on the floor, having to be carried off.

LaVine tore his ACL in Detroit over a year ago, while it was revealed Butler suffered a right meniscus injury. But it looked all the same and LaVine understood the uncertainty Butler must’ve been feeling before the MRI revealed it wasn’t an ACL injury.

“It’s scary,” LaVine said following morning shootaround at the Target Center Saturday afternoon. “I wish him the best. You don’t want to see that happen to anybody. Especially a player of his caliber and what he’s done for the team.”

When LaVine injured his ACL, he actually played a few more minutes before being removed and going to the locker room. The time between being evaluated by doctors and them coming back feels like a lifetime.

“It’s scary. You know you hurt yourself, you don’t know how bad,” LaVine said. “You think you’re good, you’re a tough minded person trying to get through it.”

“I saw him on the ground trying to get up, (Rockets guard) Chris Paul made him sit down. Jimmy’s a tough dude. Thoughts and prayers going out to him.”

Butler and LaVine were the centerpieces of the draft day trade involving the Bulls and Timberwolves. With Butler suffering the injury the night before playing his former team a second time, the timing produced a bunch of memories.

In Hoiberg’s first year with the Bulls, Butler went down in a somewhat similar manner in Denver, a non-contact injury. It looked just as bad, and Butler was taken off the floor in a wheelchair.

Thankfully it was a right knee strain that cost him several weeks but it wasn’t as bad as it looked. Considering the minutes he’s played over the last few years, Hoiberg was asked if Butler pushes himself too hard to be on the floor.

“Jimmy he wants to be out there,” Hoiberg said. “I remember the first year in Denver, he went down with what looked to be a serious injury. Thankfully he was back on the floor after 15-16 games.”

Actually, Butler missed 11 consecutive games before coming back for a nationally-televised game against the Rockets, playing 34 minutes in a Bulls win and missing the next three games for recovery.

“We really worried when he went down but it wasn’t something that ended his season,” Hoiberg said. “Jimmy’s a worker. He’s one of the hardest working guys I’ve seen. It’s a huge reason for the type of player he is, that work ethic to make him one of the elite players in the league.”

With Bulls-Timberwolves looming, Jimmy Butler is diagnosed with meniscus injury

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USA TODAY

With Bulls-Timberwolves looming, Jimmy Butler is diagnosed with meniscus injury

Jimmy Butler won't be facing the Bulls a second time this season.

Butler suffered a non-contact knee injury on Friday night in Houston. The initial X-ray only revealed he didn't have any broken bones, but the MRI had to wait until Saturday.

The Timberwolves announced that the MRI revealed a meniscus injury in Butler's right knee. There is not yet word on how long the All-Star guard will be out of action, but if it wasn't already assumed that he wouldn't play against the Bulls, it's now certain.

Avoiding the ACL tear means avoiding the worse case scenario, but this is likely still going to cause Butler to miss a significant amount of time with about a quarter of the regular season remaining.

The Bulls take on the Timberwolves on Saturday night. Butler dropped 38 points at the United Center in his return to Chicago exactly two weeks ago, but the Bulls won 114-113.

Butler posted on Instagram a reaction to the injury.

Saturday's game will be the returns of Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn to Minnesota after they went the other direction in the Butler trade on draft night last June.