Tom Thibodeau, who was fired Thursday as coach of the Bulls, received some public support Sunday from Pau Gasol, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Gasol used his blog to thank the coach who convinced him to come to Chicago and helped him thrive with an inside-out offense. “Coach Thibodeau, [I] want to thank your trust and support this season,” Gasol wrote. “I am sure that his departure was a very difficult decision for the organization of the Bulls, but I am convinced that they have a solid plan for the success of the franchise. We all have high expectations for the coming season and will do anything to bring the ring to Chicago. Go Bulls!”
Here’s more news from the Central Division:
- Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg, who is expected to officially replace Thibodeau this week, is a “leader,” former Bulls GM Jerry Krause told Johnson in a separate story. “He’d earn respect of players right away,” Krause said. “If you don’t respect Fred Hoiberg, you don’t respect people.” Hoiberg is recovering from heart surgery and his children are finishing the school year Monday, so the date of his announcement is uncertain, but it’s a foregone conclusion that he will be Chicago’s next coach. Johnson couldn’t confirm a report that Hoiberg will receive $25MM over five years, but a source told him the contract will top the $20MM extension Hoiberg got from ISU in 2013.
- Chicago is counting on Hoiberg to improve its offense, according to Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders. The columnist contends that Hoiberg’s philosophies fit well with the talent that the Bulls possess.
- Some have wondered if Reggie Jackson, acquired last season, could be the long-term replacement for point guard Brandon Jennings, who will be a free agent in the summer of 2016. For what it’s worth, Pistons coach/exec Stan Van Gundy says that he can see the two clicking well on the floor at the same time, David Mayo of MLive.com writes. “I think it can work,” Van Gundy said. “I think that we’ve seen a vision of it already with [Russell] Westbrook and Reggie in Oklahoma City. They were certainly able to find minutes for both of them. So yeah, I’ve certainly thought about it. But that would be jumping the gun a little bit. The main thing is to get him back.”
Zach Links contributed to this report.