LeBron James sank the game winner in game 4 of the east semis to tie the series and the Cavs had all the momentum necessary to eventually go to the conference finals. For the Bulls, that exit sealed the fate of Tom Thibodeau who was already under a lot of scrutiny. The Bulls had in Tom Thibodeau one of the best minds in basketball, they were competitive each season but couldn’t get over LeBron and the Miami Heat. Some argued that Thibodeau was too defensive minded and the players needed a new voice to guide them to a championship.
Fred Hoiberg was hired during the summer in hope to revamp that offense but two months into this season, the Bulls are struggling and more importantly a lack of leadership is displayed in the locker room. Jimmy Butler, the new Bulls’ leader publicly criticized his coach and teammates before admitting it was not the best to do it in the media, an anonymous player is saying Butler turned “Hollywood” and Noah, one of the their leaders under Thibodeau’s tenure, is reduced to a bench role now.
I don’t think Hoiberg is to blame for the Bulls’ struggle, they are asking him to turn the same roster into a power offense, Thibodeau never allowed some locker room division and he was able to get the max of that roster each season but they were eliminated by a more talented team each year in the playoffs. From that standpoint, it was a mistake to let him go but with Hoiberg at the the helm now, they have to find him players that fits his system and that is the reason they are exploring trades for Noah or Gibson for a more offensive player.
This is the right move from the front office, Noah still has some value and is a free agent this summer meaning they could lose him for nothing. If they could get a scorer for him, it would be more beneficial than bringing him off the bench. That move alone would not solve all the issues but it’s a good start, Hoiberg will then have to address the leadership of his team. I still think Rose and Butler can coexist but they can’t let them figure it out on their own, a mark of a great is to blend different characters for the better of the team so we will see what Fred Hoiberg will do once he gets a roster that fits his system but for now the Bulls are still looking for answers.