No matter what moves the Wizards make this offseason, no projection can be complete without factoring maneuvers made by others in the Eastern Conference.
The Chicago Bulls, among the likely contenders next season, got the ball started with the long-rumored firing of head coach Tom Thibodeau.
The team released a statement Thursday and it wasn't simply to say they wish the man who coached the Bulls for five seasons well. A portion of the comments from Chicago Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf:
“The Chicago Bulls have a history of achieving great success on and off the court. ...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."
The Bulls reached the postseason during each of Thibodeau's five seasons, including a first round loss to the Washington Wizards in 2014. Chicago fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games during the Eastern Conference semifinals earlier this month, losing the finale 94-73 on its homecourt. Thibodeau, a noted defensive coach who worked his star players hard in practice and throughout the season, finished with an overall regular season record of 255-139.
"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,” said Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman. “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."
Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg is the rumored favorite to take over. The next coach won't lack for talent with Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson and Nikola Mioritc under contract. Restricted free agent Jimmy Butler, named the NBA's Most Improved Player this season, is expected to be retained.
Thibodeau will be hot commodity, but he could choose to sit out a season. His contract with the Bulls called for him to receive $9 million over the next two seasons.
More on the breaking news from CSNchicago.com.