May 8, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau during the second half in game two of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Discontent Looming Between Tom Thibodeau and Chicago Bulls?

The Chicago Bulls media day is next Friday and that marks the unofficial start to the NBA Season.

For the Bulls, the focus will be on Derrick Rose. Rose sat out all of last season while rehabbing from ACL surgery, and the former league MVP has described himself as 100 percent heading into this season.

Unfortunately, it seems as if there can not be a start to the Bulls season without the rumor of discontent between Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau and the team’s front office.

These rumors were swirling earlier in the off-season when Bulls’ general manager Gar Forman decided to let go of Thibodeau’s top assistant, Ron Adams.

Now, the rumors are picking up once again in light of the failed contract talks between Luol Deng and the Bulls’ front office.

Apr 25, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls small forward Luol Deng (9) drives during the first quarter of the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times cites at least one source in his reporting that Thibodeau would be upset if the Bulls’ front office opted not to retain Deng, who is in the final year of his contract with the Bulls.

“Ask Tom how important he thinks Luol is,’’ the source said. “How happy do you think he would be with that decision?’’-Chicago Sun Times

Deng has been one of Thibodeau’s most depended on players since the former Boston Celtics’ assistant became the Bulls head coach.

Since Thibodeau began coaching the Bulls in 2010, Deng has averaged roughly 39 minutes per game. Deng has averaged more minutes under Thibodeau than at any other point in his career with the Bulls.

Before Thibodeau came to the Bulls, there was question as to whether or not Deng was a part of the Bulls long-term plans. Thibodeau’s arrival has ceased any talk of Deng’s future with the Bulls.

Until now.

Deng was the subject of trade rumors during the NBA Draft and those rumors are expected to pick back up near the NBA trade deadline in February. If the Bulls are aware that they will not be able to reach an agreement on a contract extension with Deng, then it appears likely that team will shop the veteran small forward as opposed to letting him walk for nothing at the end of the season. Though, to clarify, the Bulls will not trade Deng for the mere purpose of trading the small forward. The team would need a return that would make the trade worthwhile.

In any event, this is a topic that is sure to come up next week at the team’s media day.

Tags: Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose Gar Forman Luol Deng Tom Thibodeau

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