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updated: 7/2/2013 5:42 AM

This butting of Bulls' heads not very healthy

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  • Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, left, and general manager Gar Forman, right, introduce the team's 2013 draft picks -- Erik Murphy (31) and Tony Snell (20) -- at the Berto Center on Monday.

      Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, left, and general manager Gar Forman, right, introduce the team's 2013 draft picks -- Erik Murphy (31) and Tony Snell (20) -- at the Berto Center on Monday.
    Associated Press

 
 

Gar Forman all but made official Monday that there was dissension inside the Bulls' organization.

What other conclusion could be drawn when the general manager says that they will have to "unite and move forward"?

Oh, and there was one more conclusion: A power play had developed during the last year or so between Forman and head coach Tom Thibodeau.

Wait, one last conclusion: This club is flirting with dysfunction unless Derrick Rose can pull a Michael Jordan and hold everything together with his play.

Does anyone around here think Rose can?

Me neither.

The man in the middle was Ron Adams, of all people, a relatively obscure assistant coach. Thibodeau wanted him, his friend, a solid basketball man, to remain with the Bulls. Forman fired him to assert his status as boss.

It seems like such a minor transaction until you read between the whines. This is how breakups so often occur on the highest levels of professional sports.

Thibodeau and his assistants apparently have been on a mission to assume more power in personnel matters. Forman responded by being on a mission to maintain his power and exercised it to put Thibodeau in his place by firing Adams.

All public pronouncements aside, Forman also might have been upset that Thibodeau played some of his physically fragile Bulls so many minutes per game.

All public pronouncements aside, Thibodeau also might have been upset that Bulls management didn't put more pressure on Rose to return from injury during the season.

A good guess is that the friction will continue to simmer. The only way it will end is if Forman or Thibodeau is gone or both are.

Seriously, does anyone think that Thibodeau, strong-headed and stubborn, is going to be eager to "unite and move forward" with this management team?

Even before this latest dust-up, Thibodeau sent out signals that he was unhappy with the Bulls' front office … and the Bulls' front office had to be concerned that he looked like a coach destined to become an ex-coach they would have to pay a lot of money not to coach.

Thibodeau has a four-year contract kicking in this coming season that is worth more than $16 million, which in itself carries considerable leverage.

Forman has the Reinsdorfs -- chairman Jerry and president Michael -- and the former never has appreciated underlings trying to grab authority from superiors. Remember, neither Jordan nor Phil Jackson was allowed to wrestle personnel decisions away from Jerry Krause.

Meanwhile, contract in hand, Thibodeau is likely to be obsessed with the old Bill Parcells theory: If a coach is going to cook the meal he should be able to buy the groceries.

It might be a good idea for everybody to pick up a copy of a story in USA Today from a couple of weeks ago. Parcells and Patriots owner Bob Kraft both expressed regret over their relationship dissolving over a cooking meals/buying groceries dispute.

Parcells left to coach a couple of different teams on the way to the Hall of Fame. Kraft eventually won three Super Bowls with Bill Belichick.

On the surface it was a win-win … except that both Parcells and Kraft still wonder how successful they might have been together.

Right now Thibodeau isn't Parcells and nobody in the Bulls' organization is Kraft, but this basketball team in this city is a good place to be. Everybody involved might be smart to focus on "uniting" so they can "move forward."

More likely, however, this relationship will get worse rather than better and end sooner rather than later.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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