Monday, October 7th, 2013 at 9:55 am  |  30 responses

Relationship Between Coach Tom Thibodeau and GM Gar Forman Reportedly ‘Toxic’

According to Yahoo! Sports, there’s a power struggle brewing in Chicago. Things came to a head when Bulls GM Gar Forman fired assistant coach Ron Adams, a decision that did not sit well with head coach Tom Thibodeau: “Between Forman and Thibodeau the disconnect is deep, but (Derrick) Rose’s reconstructed knee could be a powerful agent of reconciliation. With transcendent talents, there come redemptive powers. No one wants to be ousted with Rose on the roster, because he is one of those once-in-a-lifetime players for executives and coaches. [...] As Rose returns to the Bulls after missing a full season, his most important teammate – Luol Deng – is privately disappointed over the franchise’s unwillingness to engage him in serious contract discussions. Deng could leave as a free agent this summer, could be traded before the February deadline – everything is so unsettled over his future. An assistant coach that Rose deeply valued, Ron Adams, was let go over Thibodeau’s wishes this summer because Forman didn’t like Adams’ defiant disposition. Eventually, Rose could be trapped in the middle of the Forman-Thibodeau cold war. As the months passed without Thibodeau signing his name to a four-year contract extension last season, the coach privately feared the consequences of fully committing himself to that inevitable signature, league sources said. If Thibodeau had been convinced that his GM was usurping the coach’s influence without a signed deal, he knew the finalizing of his contract would move him further to the mercy of the GM. The Bulls had a news conference for that four-year, $18 million contract on the eve of training camp in 2012, but it was months and months until Thibodeau signed his name. ‘It is a toxic relationship that I believe will ultimately derail them,’ one NBA coaching source with close ties to Thibodeau and Forman warned. As Thibodeau delivered one of the best coaching performances the NBA had witnessed in years, pushing past the loss of Rose and core rotation players to beat the Brooklyn Nets and take the Miami Heat to five games in the conference semifinals, management kept pushing to exert controls on him. What had been a strained, fractured partnership descended into permanent disrepair with Forman’s firing of Adams, the Bulls’ top assistant coach and decades-long confidant of Thibodeau’s. If Bulls management had to take Thibodeau’s criticisms and pushback, they refused to take it from Adams. As one league source said, ‘Ron didn’t drink the Kool-Aid there, and this was a message from Gar to Thibs that he’s running the show, especially on picking the players.’”

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  • shockexchange

    Wow. This sounds familiar.

  • Shifty

    Imagined what would happen to a team if everyone was on the same page from the bench player not getting time to the owner…..oh how successful that team would be.

  • alexico

    Just like in the goodoldays, we expect the couple of chips as well.

  • Christopher Davis

    I don’t think the relationship between management & coaches is as bad as they meaning the media is making it out to be.

  • spit hot fiyah

    they need that dr dre album that never dropped

  • backell

    This is just the same story, recycled because Rose played.

  • i_ball

    Basically the Spurs and probably the Heat too

  • MoonPygg

    if one has to go it better not be thibs!

  • Allen H.

    If I had to choose, bye bye Gar. Thanks for filling our roster with one dimensional players. If it wasn’t for Thibs we would not be in the championship contention conversation. If you want to keep arguably the best coach in the league and top 5 player in the league on your team I suggest you get in line

  • Andrew

    This reminds me of Jerry Krause vs. Phil Jackson. Not cool. Get rid of Gar.

  • Nick Holden

    Why is Luol Deng referred to as “most impotant teammate” ? No hate on Deng, he is awesome, but that title surely belongs to Noah.

  • samuelgbby18

    well seeing as hes the bulls best defender and there second leading scorer, the writer is correct in calling deng a very important teammate

  • 3Chainz

    Yea but not most. The Bulls got past the Nets without Deng and because of Noah. I doubt if we take Noah out and plug in Deng the results stay the same…

  • 3Chainz

    Also Deng has a brother named Deng Deng while Noahs sister should be banged by me….

  • Alan Baum

    I know if they were both available Thibs would be desired by more and surely hired first.

  • Don Merkle

    You got it Christopher…they are stirring things up as usual for the Media. BOO!

  • uqk

    “once-in-a-lifetime players….”

    the hype so strong in this one…

  • crunchyblack

    This is just terrible. I know it’s speculation, but this has been debated for some time and firing Ron Adams was alarming. From a fan perspective it feels as if Forman has done nothing to improve this team. He seems like a cancer and he’s costing talent. Thibs should have more than just coaching responsibilities, he knows players and he knows what how to win. Forman has never coached a game or played a game. He’s never made a trade for anything of value, he’s barely made any moves whatsoever. He did help bring in Boozer. I know that some of the late round picks have been successful, but Jimmy Butler feels like a Thib pick, same with Taj Gibson. I just don’t see how Gar Forman has the ability to ruin a team without some sort of consequence. Bulls have a chance to be a good team for a long time. I’ve been through the post Jordan/pre Rose years and it stunk. Paxon was a better GM although stubborn, but he developed a culture and that culture fit perfectly with Thibs. Gar Forman is ruining that.

  • Rustyw

    This stuff was worse during the Jordan era. It happens. Rose and Thibs appear to be much more important to the franchise than Gar/Pax.

    However, the FO has shown that it or some excellent scouts are solid at picking talent. Asik, Taj, Butler, and Mirotic were all great picks. If Snell turns out the same, that will certainly confirm that the FO/scouts have an eye for skill and potential.

    However, reportedly Thibs wanted Dunleavy. Well, the FO got him. And the FO wants starter minutes reduced. So Thibs has stated that he will rest the starters more. This is a team sport, and not for just the players. (BTW, most fans also want the starter minutes cut. What is the point of securing the best regular season record if it means going into the playoffs with the starters worn out or injured? The playoffs need to be the priority.)

    In Jordan’s time, virtually the entire Bulls roster except for him and Pippen was changed. Yet Krause built a second 3-peat team. Jordan’s legacy would be far less if the Bulls had a weaker GM back then. And yet Jordan hated Krause. Go figure!

  • Lexluther312

    I’m a Bulls fan, and this disgusts me. With DRose and Thibs, you have two of the best in the league at their positions. These really are once in a lifetime peices: in Thibs case, you want to lock him up for as long as possible. Ignorance and pride are Gar Forman’s downfall and Bulls fans everywhere will be incredibly dissappointed. Please get it together up there fellas.

  • berkamore

    Well, I am guessing that Jordan (who can’t seem to get anything going with the Bobcats) has learned to appreciate the work that Krause did in Chicago juuuuuust a little more. Sh.t always looks easier when a pro is doing it….until you try and go:”Mmmm, maybe there is more to what this guy is doing that what meets the eye.”

  • berkamore

    At least 15-20 teams in the NBA are salivating already. They will hire him in a minute and even give him a piece of the franchise. Hell, if I owned an NBA team, I would put an offer on table right now and tell Thibs that he can take it anytime he wants.

  • BIG ED

    I think at end of year Thibs will bolt and there will be teams outside of his home preparing to interview him.

  • cbranson05

    wojanwoski,or whatever his name is, the same guy who last year wrote a seething article on how david stern and the NBA are conspiring against the san antonio spurs because they bring in low rating and he doesnt like popavich. this was before the playoffs, next thing ya know the spurs win the west and are in the finals. it seems this guy has a thing for writing sopa opera dramas.

  • Biggie SHORTY

    Taj came the year before Thibs. Asik and Butler came the summer that Thibs was hired.

  • Biggie SHORTY

    *Butler came in Thibs second year as coach.

  • https://twitter.com/jasontichenor Mr. Wet

    He also has a thing for finding good sources. So, I don’t know.

  • Tad

    Thibs can quit and the Lakers will happily make him the highest paid coach in the NBA the next day.

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  • Varney

    Forman is an arrogant putz. Thib’s is world class. Forman doesn’t understand how to build consensus and confidence, in fact he destroyed the chemistry. Don’t blow it Reinsdorf, get rid of the cancer before it kills the team.