There’s been a lot of talk around the NBA since Chicago Bulls‘ Luol Deng announced that he would be testing the free agent market after this season. Many teams could use a player like Deng, however, one individual will not be a happy camper if Deng leaves the Bulls, coach Tom Thibodeau.
According to sources around the league, Thibodeau would be highly upset with upper management if they trade Deng or let him walk as a free agent. There have been rumors this offseason that Thibodeau and general manager Gar Forman are at odds about certain things. One of the main reasons for a possible rift is that Forman let go of Thibodeau’s most trusted assistant coach, Ron Adams. Forman decided not to renew Adams’ contract, and that decision did not set very well with Thibodeau. They have both said that everything is all good between them, but fans are not buying it.
Coach Thibs likes to use Deng in a variety of ways, and he has always referred to him as his all-around weapon. He lets Deng play as many minutes as he can handle. When the Bulls need to stop a perimeter scorer, Thibs puts Deng on them, because he is their best wing defender. He can be used as a catch and shoot player, a slasher, and he can post up smaller defenders. Thibodeau loves Deng’s attitude, because he’s a team first guy and is much respected in the locker room.
So the question remains, how will Thibodeau react if Deng is not a Bull? Well, let’s put it like this, I would not want to be the front office facing a very upset coach. It would be best for everybody in the organization for the Bulls to do everything in their power to resign Luol Deng. If not, things could get quite hasty and very ugly.