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updated: 6/30/2013 10:39 AM

Bulls' decision to cut loose assistant coach a surprise

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  • The Bulls didn't renew assistant coach Ron Adams' contract.

    The Bulls didn't renew assistant coach Ron Adams' contract.
    File photo by Gilbert R. Boucher II


On paper, it's a minor move, but the Bulls' decision to not renew the contract of assistant coach Ron Adams is an eye-opener.

Adams has been tight with head coach Tom Thibodeau for roughly 20 years, since the pair first worked together in San Antonio under Jerry Tarkanian. They later coached together with John Lucas in Philadelphia.

Over the years, they stayed close, and when Thibodeau finally landed a head coaching job in 2010, Adams left a good situation as Scott Brooks' top assistant in Oklahoma City to join Thibodeau.

This was Adams' second stint with the Bulls, having also worked with Scott Skiles. One reason he came back was to rejoin his family, which stayed behind when Adams left for Oklahoma City. He shouldn't have any trouble landing another job in the NBA.

The exact reason for this change in the coaching staff is not clear. Maybe general manager Gar Forman will address the topic Monday when the Bulls introduce draft picks Tony Snell and Erik Murphy.

Adams worked closely with many of the Bulls players and was often seen sitting down after practice going over video with Derrick Rose or Marco Belinelli. Despite Adams' run-in with Joakim Noah in 2007 -- which was long ago patched over -- he was close with many players on the current roster.

Is there a rift between Bulls' management and the coaching staff? This move certainly makes it appear that way. There are no indications Thibodeau supported this decision.

As it stands, Thibodeau's coaching staff includes Andy Greer, Ed Pinckney, Adrian Griffin and Mike Wilhelm.

The Bulls' management structure has changed in recent years, starting when John Paxson took a step back and Forman assumed most of the day-to-day roles in running the team. Michael Reinsdorf, son of chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, has also become heavily involved in the Bulls' operations.

There have been changes before this one. Forman brought in Randy Brown as sort of his right-hand man. Forman helped recruit Brown to New Mexico State many years ago. Personnel director Matt Lloyd left the Bulls and took a similar job with the Orlando Magic.

It's not unusual in any organization for personnel to change when new bosses step in. Getting rid of Adams, though, would appear to hit Thibodeau close to home.

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