Bulls

Breakdown in communication seemed to play a part in Thibodeau's firing

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Breakdown in communication seemed to play a part in Thibodeau's firing

Even the best relationships have rocky moments but a common thread amongst all is communication—which certainly broke down between Tom Thibodeau and the Bulls’ front office.

A deterioration of a working relationship that seemed to produce plenty of results ended in the firing of Thibodeau Thursday morning after five seasons in Chicago, and two left on a contract extension he signed before the beginning of the 2013-14 season.

Assistant coach Andy Greer was also dismissed, with the fate of the other members of Thibodeau’s staff to be determined by the next coach, with the Bulls on the hook for the remainder of Thibodeau’s $9 million should he not coach in the next two seasons.

The relationship between the coach and Gar Forman and John Paxson was broken beyond repair, and although Forman said a decision had been reached Wednesday night, many believe Thibodeau’s fate had been sealed for quite some time.

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

“We went into this week where we had our player meetings and our organizational meetings, and we dug deep,” Forman said. “We looked at a lot of different things as far as where this team's at and trying to sustain success and trying to grow on that success.

“But as we came out of those meetings, it was our decision that we felt a change was needed in order for us to continue to move forward.”

Thibodeau’s record of 255-139 was bested only by Gregg Popovich (San Antonio), the recently fired Scott Brooks (Oklahoma City), and Erik Spoelstra (Miami), but wasn’t enough to keep his job.

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Having to do it without Derrick Rose for large portions of his tenure made it all the more impressive and perhaps turned it into a burden as Thibodeau’s grind-it-out style may have played against him in the end.

In those 394 games Thibodeau coached, Rose played in 181 of them with his knee injuries, a situation Popovich, Brooks or Spoelstra didn’t have to manage en masse.

There were rumors of player discord, and Paxson wouldn’t say if the players voiced their displeasure with Thibodeau in the season-ending meetings, or if that even played a part in their decision.

“Relationships involve a lot of things. This was a five-year relationship,” Paxson said. “We went through a process. There wasn't a point of no return. As with any relationship, it's a process. You go through things every day. And that's what happens. We determined after all our evaluations and all our discussions, a change was made.”

[MORE BULLS: President Obama reacts on Twitter to Bulls firing Tom Thibodeau]

Philosophically, they appeared to disagree on a number of fronts, headlined by the minutes restrictions placed on Rose and Joakim Noah after serious knee surgeries last summer.

“So we went and listened to all the medical staff, and we came up with the belief and idea that we needed to kind of get them into the season the right way physically,” Paxson said. “In our mind, it was absolutely the responsible thing to do. We thought through three years – take Derrick out of the equation – we thought through three years we weren’t healthy come playoff time. Our goal, given the team we had, was to try to be as healthy as we possibly could be come playoff time.”

They didn’t say whether Thibodeau agreed with the suggestions made by the team doctors, but given his hard-driving style, it wouldn’t be a stretch to believe he bristled at it, and his opinions, while noted, didn’t factor much into the decision made by Forman and Paxson.

Whether the missed practice time or the lack of playing time given to the young players or the rigidity of Thibodeau’s offense or any other factor led to it, the breakdown in communication led to an apparent lack of communication.

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“Everything should be about the best interests of the organization,” Paxson said. “So you should be able to ask any question you want to ask. You should be able to push the envelope in terms of anything in order to have some success. That's what relationships should be about. Obviously, there was a breakdown. That's not a secret by any stretch of the imagination.”

And despite all the success Thibodeau led them to, the Bulls find themselves on the hunt for a new coach, someone who can carry out their vision and get on the same page with, before their championship window slams shut.

“The path was there for us and we could have seized it,” Paxson said. “It's about trying to take advantage of the moment, and we didn't do that this year, and that was really disappointing.”

Antoine Griezmann professes his love for Derrick Rose after winning World Cup

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USA TODAY

Antoine Griezmann professes his love for Derrick Rose after winning World Cup

Antoine Griezmann, you just won the World Cup, what are you going to do next?

Apparently, profess his love for Derrick Rose.

In the celebrations of France winning the World Cup on Sunday, French forward Griezmann spotted his teammate Paul Pogba getting interviewed by FOX Sports. Recognizing this was the American audience, Griezmann took the mic from FOX's Jenny Taft and had one thing to say:

"I love Derrick Rose."

Griezmann, who scored a goal in France's 4-2 win against Croatia in the final, is a big NBA fan. He has been spotted at multiple games over the years, including Game 5 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals between the Celtics and Cavs.

This also isn't the first time he has made a comment about D-Rose. He recently signed a contract extension with his club team, Atletico Madrid, but a year ago said the only way he would leave was to play with Rose.

"I would only leave Atleti to play with Derrick Rose," Griezmann said through translation.

In 2015 he posted an image of himself in a Derrick Rose Bulls jersey to his Instagram.

Later that year he took in a Bulls game and got a photo with Joakim Noah.

Maybe when the 27-year-old is ready to leave Europe, he will join a Major League Soccer team just so he can watch more NBA games.

UPDATE: Rose tweeted congratulations to Griezmann.

How Jabari Parker impacts Bulls’ salary cap in 2019

How Jabari Parker impacts Bulls’ salary cap in 2019

The Bulls ‘rebuild’ seems to be just a one-year experiment after the team signed Chicago native Jabari Parker to a two-year, $40-million dollar deal on Saturday. Although on first look Parker’s contract would seem to restrict what they can do in free agency next summer, the reality is that the 2nd year team option gives the Bulls plenty of flexibility with—or without- Parker next year.  

If the Bulls pick up the option on Parker, they will still be able to sign a max free agent next July if they make the right moves between now and July 1, 2019.

The NBA projects the 2019-20 cap will rise to $109 million, up from $101.9 million for the upcoming season. The league bases a ‘max’ salary on years of service. A 10-year vet like Kevin Durant is eligible for more ($38.2 million) than his teammate Klay Thompson ($32.7 million), an 8-year vet. If the Bulls keep Parker, they’ll enter free agency with approximately $15.4 million next summer—far short of the cap space needed for a player like Durant or Thompson, but that number is misleading. The $15.4 million also includes cap holds (salary slots assigned to a player based on several factors including previous year’s salary). The cap hold is designed to prevent teams from completely circumventing the soft cap model the league uses. The cap holds for Bobby Portis ($7.5 million) and Cameron Payne ($9.8 million) are just theoretical if the Bulls don’t sign either to a contract extension before the October 31, 2018 deadline. 

Let’s say the Bulls are in line to sign a star free agent like Thompson; all they would need to do is rescind any qualifying offer to Payne or Portis, and then renounce them as free agents. This would effectively take the cap holds off the Bulls’ cap sheet and give them approximately $32.7 million in cap space. Coincidently (or perhaps it’s no coincidence), that’s the exact salary a 7-9 year free agent like Thompson would command.

In order to create enough space for Durant and his increased ‘max’ slot, they would need to waive and stretch a player like Cristiano Felicio or incentivize a trade involving a player by attaching another asset in the deal, like a future 1st round pick.

If the Bulls decline the team option on Parker, then they will enter free agency with anywhere between $35 million and $53 million.