The Chicago Bulls have announced that they have officially fired coach Tom Thibodeau after months of speculation regarding his long-term future.
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The Bulls were eliminated from the NBA Playoffs 2015 in the Eastern Conference semi-finals by the Cleveland Cavaliers, even though their rivals were severely weakened by injuries.
However, a long history of off-the-court issues have ensured that Thibodeau and the front office have not seen eye-to-eye for some time, with clashes over coaching staff changes and player minutes being amongst the topics in contention.
As a result, reports and rumours have long suggested that the two parties will eventually part company, and despite having two years remaining on his deal worth $9m, the Bulls have opted to fire their coach.
“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,” chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in an official press release.
“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.”
Thibodeau compiled an overall record of 255-139 (.647) during his five years in charge of the Bulls, but his inability to get them into the NBA Finals and to ultimately win a championship have certainly been notable points in his overall failure as he had a 23-28 record in the post-season.
In addition, he has previously been heavily criticised for the workload he imposes on his players as well as lacking offensive creativity with Chicago establishing a defensive identity which served them well to an extent.
However, he will now assess his options with both the New Orleans Pelicans and Orlando Magic reportedly interested in appointing him their new coach.