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Bulls fire coach Tom Thibodeau

Chicago Bulls fire successful coach Tom Thibodeau

Bulls fire coach Tom Thibodeau

Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman announced today that Tom Thibodeau will not be retained as the team’s head coach.

Chicago Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said, “The Chicago Bulls have a history of achieving great success on and off the court. 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.”

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, “Tom Thibodeau is a great coach. He is a better coach than John Paxson is a vice president of basketball operations and Gar Forman is a general manager. That’s not taking anything away from the two front-office people. It’s a recognition that the Bulls are letting go of one of the best pure basketball minds in the NBA. The shame of Thursday’s firing is that it didn’t have to happen, not if clear-thinking, adult-acting adults had been involved. But a clash of personalities and visions made what happened inevitable. Thibodeau does not play well with others. He knows what he knows, and he’ll go to his grave defending it. And what he knows is hard work, followed up by more hard work, followed by an aperitif of hard work. So when Paxson and Forman told him again and again to take his foot off the gas pedal with the players by cutting down on minutes and thus on wear and tear, it was like talking to basketball stanchion.”

Following 21 years in the NBA as an assistant coach (he was an advance scout in 1991-92), Chicago named Thibodeau the team’s head coach on June 23, 2010. During his five seasons at the helm of the Bulls, Thibodeau’s teams compiled an overall record of 255-139 (.647). The Bulls advanced to the playoffs five times during Thibodeau’s tenure, where he posted a postseason record of 23-28 (.451).

“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.”

Joakim Noah wins 2014-15 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award

Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls has won the 2014-15 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award as selected by the Professional Basketball Writers Association (PBWA). The honor, named after the NBA’s second commissioner, is presented annually by the PBWA to the player, coach or athletic trainer who shows outstanding service and dedication to the community.

The other finalists for the award were forward Tobias Harris of the Orlando Magic, forward Greg Monroe of the Detroit Pistons, guard Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers and forward Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Noah, a two-time All-Star center who has spent his entire eight-year career with the Bulls, has dedicated himself to helping children develop a stronger sense of self through his Noah’s Arc Foundation (NAF). The foundation recently launched the “Rock Your Drop: The Drop of Consciousness” anti-violence initiative, which supports those affected by violence and encourages youth to express themselves through creative outlets like sports and art.

NAF also produced the “You’re Not Alone” anti-violence video featuring first-hand stories from those who have lost loved ones to violence, including Noah’s teammates Taj Gibson, Nazr Mohammed and Derrick Rose. Last summer, in his ongoing efforts to raise awareness of gun violence and promote unity in Chicago, Noah and NAF debuted the #ChicagoStandUp public service announcement and hosted a basketball tournament that brought together young men from the south and west sides of the city.

“Joakim’s initiatives to slow the violence in Chicago should inspire us all to help in our communities,” said PBWA President Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. “His creative, sustained efforts stood out in perhaps the deepest pool of worthy candidates in the 41-year history of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award.”

Pau Gasol plans to play Cavs-Bulls Game 6

Here’s ESPN Chicago reporting on Bulls power forward Pau Gasol, a key member of the squad who could certainly be the difference between a tied series or the Cavs advancing and leaving Chicago in the dust. The Cavs lead the series 3 games to 2, so Thursday is must-win for the Bulls:

Pau Gasol plans to play Cavs-Bulls Game 6

Pau Gasol says he’s going to try and play in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night. Gasol missed the past two games because of a strained left hamstring.

“I made some good progress today,” Gasol said after the Bulls’ workout on Wednesday. “No residual pain from [Tuesday] also works. We’re making progress. At the end of the day, [Thursday] is the game and I’ll do everything I can to help the team. … I’ll be out there. Whichever way I can be, I will be.”

Gasol initially hurt his hamstring in Game 2 and played only 22 minutes in Game 3 after being taken out in the second half.

Joakim Noah fined $25,000 for pushing a fan

Joakim Noah fined $25,000 for pushing a fan

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah has been fined $25,000 for pushing a fan, it was announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred at halftime of the Bulls’ 106-91 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on May 6 at Quicken Loans Arena.

D-Rose helps Bulls take Game 1 vs Cavs

D-Rose helps Bulls take Game 1 vs Cavs

Pau Gasol is rocking, Derrick Rose looks like D-Rose again and the Chicago Bulls, playing against the Cleveland Cavaliers (no Kevin Love, no J.R. Smith) took a 1-0 lead in their second round playoff series. Here’s the Bulls.com blog:

D-Rose helps Bulls take Game 1 vs Cavs

The Bulls Monday didn’t slay the giant, though their 99-92 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal was complete, efficient and impressive.

Derrick Rose had 25 points, five rebounds and five assists, Pau Gasol added 21 points and 10 rebounds, 13 points in the third quarter when the Cavaliers rallied back from a 16-point deficit, and Jimmy Butler added 20 points and a clinching, driving bank shot with 30.6 seconds left.

The wire-to-wire victory gave the Bulls a 1-0 lead in the series with Game 2 in Cleveland Wednesday.

But it takes four whacks to slay a giant in these things, a giant who has stolen the Bulls championship hopes and dreams the last five years, twice even after losing the first game of a playoff series. Maybe it’s different this time, and perhaps he’s not quite the fearsome giant.

“It’s not a point about looking in the past or talking about the past,” said Rose, who had a late scare with a shoulder “stinger” that apparently proved no problem. “The teammates I have on my team right now, like I said, I’m grateful. I’m so fortunate to be playing with them. I think we can be a dangerous team.

“The way I used to play back in the day is totally different than the way I play now,” added Rose. “I can’t think about the past or even put in my head (losing playoff series after being ahead 1-0). I can only have positive thoughts; just trying to lead my team in a positive way. You can’t think of how many times he beat us in the past; it’s over. We’re in the present now.”

Derrick Rose, back in the NBA playoffs

Derrick Rose, back in the NBA playoffs

On Saturday, Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose played in his first NBA playoff game in years, stayed healthy, looked pretty good, and enjoyed a win. The former league MVP shot 9-of-16 for 23 points, seven assists and two steals as the Bulls beat the Milwaukee Bucks 103-91 to take a 1-0 lead in their first round series.

Leading the Bulls was guard Jimmy Butler, who shot 8-of-14 for 25 points and six assists. Forward Pau Gasol shot just 5-of-17 for 10 points, though he did add 13 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. Center Joakim Noah had six points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block.

In Milwaukee’s loss, Khris Middleton scored 18 points on 17 shot attempts. The Bucks as a team shot just 39.3% for the game.

In hugely important game for Brooklyn, Nets gets blown out by Bulls

The Chicago Bulls are already headed to the 2015 NBA playoffs. The Brooklyn Nets hoped to join them. But a two-game losing streak now has Brooklyn’s postseason dream turning into a nightmare.

Behind 26 points off the bench from Nikola Mirotic, 22 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two blocks from Pau Gasol, and 50% team shooting, the Chicago Bulls beat the Nets in Brooklyn 113-86.

The Bulls outscored the Nets 30-15 in the third quarter. And with plenty of Bulls fans in the crowd, the visiting team got plenty of cheers on a number of plays — especially when D-Rose unleashed some quickness, several times leaving D-Will and other Nets defenders flat-footed behind him.

For Chicago, Jimmy Butler shot 7-of-10 for 17 points, Taj Gibson was 5-of-6 for 15 points, nine rebounds and four blocks, and Derrick Rose only shot 5-of-13 as he works his way back but still looked good, showing explosiveness at times and finishing with 13 points and seven assists.

The Nets struggled in just about every way possible. Bojan Bogdanovic came off the bench to lead them in scoring with 17. Jarrett Jack scored 15 in 25 minutes off the bench, but needed 14 shots to do it. Brook Lopez had a quiet night with 13 points, eight rebounds, no assists and one block. Deron Williams shot 3-of-13 for just nine points, seven rebound and five assists. Joe Johnson scored 12. Thaddeus Young shot 3-of-11 for eight points, 11 rebounds.

The Bulls had 26 assists, the Nets 12. And the Bulls hit 12-of-30 three-pointers, the Nets 3-of-12.

It was a mess in Brooklyn.

Nets coach Lionel Hollins: “Stats say it all. They shot better from the three than we did from two, they outscored us 56-36 (in the second half). We had 12 assists, five in the first half, and I told the coaches that if we go out there and can’t get more than five assists in the second half and only have 10, we can’t win. We got two more for 12 assists. We have to give up the ball, we have to make shots, we have to make layups, we have to defend with second and third efforts. It was a disappointing loss, but the way I look at it is that we have one more game left and we have to win it.”

For the Bulls, who played without center Joakim Noah, a bonus in addition to the win was very solid from Derrick Rose, who isn’t anything close to his superstar self of the past, but looks like a player that can help his squad in the postseason, which is the most Chicago can expect from him right now.

“The big thing is obviously getting Derrick Rose back,” said Chicago head coach Tom Thibodeau.

“He’s got the power, quickness and speed; it’s very unusual. I don’t know if anyone else is like him in the league,” said Thibodeau about Rose.

The Bulls go on to prepare for the playoffs. The Boston Celtics clinched a playoff spot tonight, so the Nets must hope that the Pacers and Heat — other East squads hoping to reach the postseason — don’t remember how to play basketball for the next 48 hours.

Derrick Rose return date remains unknown

Here’s ESPN Chicago reporting on the eventual return of Bulls guard Derrick Rose. This will shock you, but the date this will happen remains unknown at this time:

Derrick Rose return date remains unknown

The Chicago Bulls remain optimistic that Derrick Rose will return in the near future as he continues to recover from a meniscectomy, but they are unsure exactly when.

“Only he knows his body and that’s the big thing,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said before Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. “So he’s got to continue to work through it and I trust him. When he says, he’s ready.”

After the surgery, performed on Feb. 27, the Bulls announced that Rose would be out four to six weeks. This Friday represents the six-week mark, but Thibodeau remains noncommittal regarding an exact date for Rose’s return.

Bulls finally getting healthier

Bulls finally getting healthier

Derrick Rose remains out, the 44-29 Chicago Bulls, who recently clinched a spot in the 2015 NBA playoffs, are finally getting healthier. Here’s ESPN Chicago reporting:

The Chicago Bulls are getting healthy at seemingly the right time of the season.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau doesn’t want to hear about that, though.

“I don’t get wrapped up in the talk,” Thibodeau said after practice on Friday. “I want to see performance. I want to see the work go into it. I know how you win. We have to be more concerned with the process of how we’re approaching it and are we putting the work in to give ourselves the best chance possible. Talk is talk. I want to see action.”

Some of the optimism surrounding the Bulls is based on action, especially in the case of Jimmy Butler. He scored 23 points on 7-of-8 shooting Wednesday in his second game back after missing three weeks because of an elbow injury.

Forward Taj Gibson is also slowly getting back into form after missing nearly a month with a left ankle injury.

Derrick Rose expects to return sometime this season

Derrick Rose expects to return sometime this season

We’ve been through this before. Nevertheless, we must remain positive-minded. Or not. Whatever you want. Here’s the Chicago Tribune reporting the latest on injured Bulls point guard D-Rose:

Bulls guard Derrick Rose said he expects to be cleared for contact either this week or next and remains confident he’ll return from arthroscopic right knee surgery this season.

“Oh yeah, I’m not worried about that,” Rose said. “I’m feeling good. I’m trying to do all the right things. Put all the positives in the bag and just try to go with it. It’s something that I’ve been doing for a long time. Rehab is definitely a grind. But I’m getting used to it.”

Rose had a small piece of his right meniscus removed on Feb. 27. The Bulls estimated his return to action at four to six weeks. Friday marks four weeks since the surgery.

Joakim Noah frustrated by limit on playing time

Here’s ESPN Chicago reporting on the Bulls, whose health issues this season have been a major problem:

Joakim Noah frustrated by limit on playing time

Joakim Noah remains on a limit of 32 minutes per game, but he hopes that the restriction imposed before the season by the Chicago Bulls’ front office will be lifted before the postseason.

The restriction, which has been in place all season, returned to the forefront after Sunday’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder — a game in which Noah barely played down the stretch. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said he “ran out of minutes” for Noah.

“It’s frustrating,” Noah said, his first public comments since before Friday’s loss to the Charlotte Hornets. “But I think I’m not the only one who’s frustrated sometimes. I think it’s part of the grind. But I’m just trying to stay focused on what’s important: trying to win basketball games. I’m not trying to get caught up in any noise or anything like that. I don’t want to be a distraction. We’ll figure it out internally and do what’s best for the team.”

Forbes says Michael Jordan is now a billionaire

Forbes says Michael Jordan is now a billionaire

Here’s the New York Daily News reporting that Michael Jordan is now a billionaire, according to Forbes.

Michael Jordan just had his name added to another impressive list.

The former Bulls star, who has NBA record-career averages for regular-season scoring (30.12) and playoff scoring (33.45), has been included on Forbes magazine’s billionaires list for the first time.

MJ had a net worth of $1 billion, according to the magazine, to land at No. 1,741. Forbes said it calculated each person’s wealth based on stock prices and exchange rates on Feb. 13, 2015.

Jimmy Butler out 3-6 weeks with elbow injury

Jimmy Butler out 3-6 weeks with elbow injury

The Chicago Bulls announced today that an MRI of Jimmy Butler confirmed a Grade 2/3 ulnar ligament sprain and small bone impaction injury to the left elbow. It is estimated that Butler may be out three to six weeks.

On the year, Butler has appeared in 55 games (all starts) and averaged a team-high 20.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.73 spg (ninth in the NBA) and 0.58 bpg in 38.9 mpg (first in the NBA).

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, “After announcing on Friday that Derrick Rose would be lost for at least four weeks with right knee surgery to again repair his meniscus, and then losing Taj Gibson with another left ankle injury in the Friday game, the team found out on Monday that All-Star Jimmy Butler had a confirmed Grade 2/3 ulnar ligament sprain and small bone impaction injury to his left elbow that could keep him sidelined anywhere from three to six weeks.:

More from the Sun-Times: “It’s our reality,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said, when asked about now being down a former MVP, a Sixth Man of the Year Award finalist, and a first-time All-Star in Butler. “We got more than enough to get it done. Just find a way to win. [Sunday against the Clippers], it’s a tie score with about 61/2 minutes to go and it’s a one-possession game with four minutes to go, we gotta find a way to win. Whoever is out there, just get the job done. Know what your job is and go out there and get it done.’’

Derrick Rose injury update: Out 4-6 weeks after knee surgery

Derrick Rose injury update: Out 4-6 weeks after knee surgery

The Chicago Bulls announced today that guard Derrick Rose underwent a successful meniscectomy earlier this morning to repair a medial meniscus tear in his right knee. The procedure was performed by Bulls head team physician Dr. Brian Cole at Rush Surgicenter.

“This morning’s procedure went great,” said Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman. “Derrick is expected to make a full recovery and he is anticipated to return to play in four to six weeks.”

Taking history into account, 4-6 weeks sounds pretty optimistic. We’ve been through this before, sadly, but logic suggests D-Rose and the Bulls should take it slow, and ease him back into the mix.

Derrick Rose surgery should be soon

Derrick Rose surgery should be soon

Here’s the Chicago Sun-Times reporting on injured Bulls guard Derrick Rose, whose latest round of knee surgery should happen very soon. And once it does, more will be known on when he may return:

Derrick Rose surgery should be soon

Late Tuesday night, the Bulls revealed that an MRI showed Rose would need surgery on the meniscus tear in his right knee that was first repaired last season. Multiple sources confirmed Wednesday night that because there was minimal swelling in the knee, team physician Brian Cole would conduct the surgery at the Gold Coast Surgicenter no later than Friday afternoon, with Thursday still a possibility.

Coach Tom Thibodeau said the organization knew that a second surgery on the knee was always a possibility.

“We don’t know exactly when it happened, other than he went to get the MRI after practice [Tuesday],’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘So for us, first and foremost, it’s our concern for Derrick. Not only as a basketball player, but as a person. He’s been through a lot, he’s had to endure a lot and he’s gotten past a lot. It’s disappointing news, and we’re hopeful that everything will work out fine.”

Jimmy Butler plays limited minutes in 2015 All-Star game

Here’s ESPN Chicago reporting on Jimmy Butler (Bulls), who played in the 2015 All-Star game but only got limited court time as he’s dealing with an injury:

Butler played only nine minutes and scored six points as he continued to be limited by a right shoulder strain that kept him out of Thursday night’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Butler said he spoke to Eastern Conference head coach Mike Budenholzer before the game about limiting his minutes and acknowledged that his shoulder felt “all right” after playing for the first time in almost a week.

“I wish I was 100 percent healthy so I could do a lot more,” Butler said. “But it was fun.”

For a player whose career has been defined in large part by his defensive accomplishments, Butler admitted that it was tough to be in a game in which defense was looked down upon.

“A few of my guys was like, ‘Yo, chill. Don’t do all of that,’” Butler said. “So I couldn’t be the player that I am.”

Gasol vs Gasol in All-Star game tonight

Here’s ESPN Chicago with a look at one of the most interesting storylines heading into tonight’s 2015 All-Star game, that Pau Gasol starts for the East while his brother Marc Gasol starts for the West:

pau gasol

The basketball world is caught up in the Gasol vs. Gasol storyline heading into Sunday night’s All-Star Game.

Even the king.

“I think it’s amazing,” Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star LeBron James said, in regard to the fact that both Pau and Marc Gasol will be starting in Sunday’s game.

“I think it’s so awesome. I think it’s so cool, for the first time in our history, we see two brothers face off against each other in the All-Star Game. They’re great, both of them, Pau and Marc. They’re unbelievable, and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

marc gasol

That seems to be the sentiment around the league. As the Gasol brothers continue to answer questions about their accomplishments from journalists all over the world, especially a crush from Spain that has chronicled their every move, it’s been interesting to listen to other All-Stars’ reactions about what the Gasols have accomplished.

Former NBA Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose didn’t garner an All-Star berth, but he starred on Thursday in the league’s last game before the mid-season showcase.

Rose scored 30 points and handed out seven assists to lead the Bulls to a 113-98 victory over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Tony Snell contributed 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting for the Bulls and Pau Gasol — who did get an All-Star nod — notched his 14th straight double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Joakim Noah added 10 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists for Chicago, who head into the All-Star break leading the Cavs by 1 1/2 games atop the Central Division.

– AFP

Bulls set to enjoy comforts of home

The Chicago Bulls are about to enjoy a lot of home games. A nice opportunity to feel extra comfortable and rack up a stack of wins. Maybe. Here’s ESPN Chicago reporting:

As the Bulls return home for nine of the next 10 at the United Center, beginning with the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday, swingman Jimmy Butler believes his team is playing with a little more urgency these days.

“Definitely,” he said. “Before you know it, the All-Star break is going to be over and then 30-something games left. Then it’s playoff time so there’s no time for mistakes and letups. We need to correct everything now.”

After six straight games on the road, it’s hard to see any kind of major progress. The Bulls dominated the Pelicans on Saturday night only after Anthony Davis injured his shoulder. They won Sunday night’s game only because the Magic disintegrated down the stretch. The only consistency over the past month for the Bulls is that they’ve been inconsistent. But in this year, after two wins on the road, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau will take them any way he can get them.

Here’s ESPN Chicago reporting on the Bulls, who have been playing without center Joakim Noah lately, but still expect to perform a bit better than they have in recent games:

Lost amid Derrick Rose’s frustrated words after Monday night’s latest poor performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers was the fact Taj Gibson may have spoken the most telling words of the entire night.

Gibson doesn’t have the same clout that Rose does, but he is a six-year veteran who gives some of the most honest assessments in basketball. The power forward has been around for the entirety of Tom Thibodeau’s five-year tenure with the Bulls, a fact that made his comments so telling in the wake of one of the worst stretches in the Thibodeau era.

“We got to practice harder,” Gibson said. “We can’t be taking days off. We’re going to go through rough stretches, but we got to practice harder and we got to play with some energy.”

A Thibodeau-coached team playing without energy and not working hard seems incomprehensible given the success that he and his team have enjoyed over his tenure. After all, hard work has defined Thibodeau’s head-coaching career. For four years his players played hard almost every night. They played with a type of intensity and purpose that is not common on a nightly basis in the NBA.

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