12:17am: Some are skeptical the Bulls will land Hoiberg, Beck tweets, which jibes with what Kyler reported earlier.
TUESDAY, 10:02am: Warriors assistant coach Alvin Gentry would be among the front-runners for the Bulls head coaching job if the team were to part ways with Tom Thibodeau after the season, sources tell Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, who writes in his NBA AM piece. Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg has appeared to be Chicago’s top Thibodeau alternative, as multiple reports have indicated, but Kyler hears that Hoiberg may not be willing to jump to the NBA, given the condition of his heart. The 42-year-old underwent open heart surgery last month to replace his aortic valve, the school announced then.
Gentry is a contender for the Nuggets vacancy, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported last month, not long after a pair of reports identified him as a likely candidate. The Magic are considering Gentry, too, Kyler reported earlier. The former Heat, Pistons, Clippers and Suns bench boss is still working with the Warriors in the playoffs and has expressed affection for his place in Golden State even as he’s said he’d like to be a head coach again. He’s 335-370 over parts of 12 seasons as an NBA head coach, but he went 158-144 with Phoenix, his last stop.
Grantland’s Zach Lowe heard from people close to Tom Thibodeau who were convinced the Bulls would fire their coach at season’s end, as Lowe reported last month, but that scenario would be somewhat unrealistic given the two years left on the coach’s contract, Kyler writes. The sides could part ways as part of a de facto trade in which another team that wants to hire Thibodeau gives the Bulls compensation for letting him out of his contract, and the Magic would be willing to give up assets to Chicago in such an arrangement, sources tell Kyler. Indeed, the Magic job would be Thibodeau’s to turn down if he becomes available, as Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times reported earlier. Orlando would likely be willing to surrender a second-round pick or two, according to Kyler. Kyler had earlier questioned the Magic’s willingness to surrender too much for the chance to bring Thibs aboard. Thibodeau is expected to command an annual salary of $7-8MM, and the Magic would be willing to pay that, sources also tell Kyler.
It’s believed Thibodeau is the front-runner for the Nuggets job, too, according to Kyler, though there has been doubt about whether he’s a fit for Denver’s plan to return to a high-tempo approach. The Pelicans also regard Thibodeau highly as the future of Monty Williams remains unresolved, Kyler writes.
Jimmy Butler likes Thibodeau, but his decision in restricted free agency this summer wouldn’t be tied to the team’s coach, sources close to Butler tell Kyler. However, Derrick Rose is among a number of Bulls who would have a “significant problem” if the team pushed out Thibodeau, Kyler writes, echoing Wojnarowski’s recent report. Rose’s backing of Thibodeau wouldn’t prevent the coach’s departure, Wojnarowski wrote, and Rose is under contract through 2016/17.