This season has not gone quite as planned for the Chicago Bulls. They started out as one of only three real contenders in the East (to go along with the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers), but lost the face of the franchise, Derrick Rose, to injury, and traded away their second-best player, Luol Deng, to save some money.
Things may be getting a little tense at the Berto Center. Rumors are swirling around about who is the next to go. Multiple reports have the Bulls talking to teams about Taj Gibson, Mike Dunleavy Jr, and Kirk Hinrich. Some even questioned whether or not the Bulls should trade the new face (for now) of the franchise, Joakim Noah.
Through it all, head coach Tom Thibodeau is running his players the same way as always-hard.
With all the negativity surrounding the Bulls, are things starting to boil over?
Thibodeau was obviously unhappy about parting ways with Deng. He seemed frustrated when constantly asked about the trade.
What also has Thibodeau upset is the argument that he works his players too much. Deng was among the league leaders in minutes played when he was a Bull, and now Jimmy Butler appears to take over that role.
Thibodeau strongly defends the minutes, saying he does not overuse his players any more than, say, Phil Jackson used his when he was coaching in Chicago. He has grown tired of minutes questions.
Now two players have expressed frustrations in different ways.
First, Carlos Boozer went public with his frustration over playing time. He feels Thibodeau has not put him in during crunch time in most games, and he does not like it.
“But honestly, he’s been doing that a lot since I’ve been here, not putting me in the fourth quarter. Sometimes we win; more times than not, we don’t. But that’s his choice.”
For his part, Thibodeau responded by first reminding people (especially Boozer) that players should not put themselves ahead of the team. “Hey look, it’s the NBA. It’s a long season. As I said, I don’t want anyone putting themselves before the team,” he said. “I want to make that clear. Carlos, for the most part, he’s never done that before.”
Thibodeau also made a statement during Monday’s embarrassing 29-point loss on Monday. I might be paraphrasing here-“So you’re upset about your 4th quarter minutes? Okay, then I’ll play you over seven minutes in this blowout. You happy now?”
The second player possibly nearing a boiling point is Joakim Noah. He went on an epic tirade after being ejected from last Monday’s game. He pointed and cursed at each referee before he was led off. The NBA announced on Tuesday that Noah was fined $15,000 for that tirade.
This may all just be some of the things that happen during the course of a long season, but these are things that do not usually occur with the Chicago Bulls. The frustrations seem to be rising with all the dark clouds around the team. Hopefully, however, things can calm down a bit once the trade deadline passes in a couple of weeks. We shall see.