Chicago Bulls logoChicago Bulls

Tom Thibodeau Unhappy with Luol Deng Trade

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 25:  Tom Thibodeau of the Chicago Bulls reacts to the game action during the third quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center on December 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images
David MurphyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2014

It’s not easy letting a favorite player go, but that’s what’s being asked of Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. On Monday evening, the Bulls traded Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew Bynum and future draft picks. Bynum was waived the next day.

According to ESPN Chicago, Bulls vice president John Paxson doesn't expect Thibodeau to be happy about the situation. Paxson does, however, expect his coach to be a professional about it:

Look, it's not realistic to ask Tom or his staff to be happy about taking a player of Lu's caliber off your team. But what has to happen within an organization is that when decisions are made, that as a group you have to align together, and you have to move forward.

Thibs described his meeting with the front office as diplomatically as can be expected:

I had a chance to voice my opinion. Their job is to make financial decisions, to make player personnel decisions, and things of that nature. Their job is to do that. My job is to coach the guys that are here. That's the way it works.

Moving forward—that’s what this is all about. With Derrick Rose lost for yet another season-ending knee injury, the Bulls are regrouping. Trading Deng, a free agent at the end of the season, allows the team to get under the luxury tax. By clearing Bynum’s $12.3 million plus the remainder of Deng’s $14.3 million, the team will save more than $20 million.

They'll also lose a lot more games. 

K.C. Johnson for the Chicago Tribune, wrote about the regret of Deng’s teammates, as well as his coach. Thibodeau expressed his feelings succinctly:

It's tough. Lu did an unbelievable job for us. He embodied everything that we believe in: high character, intelligent, mentally tough, great humanitarian. He worked extremely hard and performed well. We wish him well.

Deng, a two-time All-Star, was in his 10th season with the Bulls. He was a draft day trade in 2004, picked seventh overall by the Phoenix Suns and dealt to the Bulls. This was Thibodeau’s fourth season coaching the small forward.

It’s tough to lose a favorite player, and it’s tough to be put into a rebuilding situation. Tom Thibodeau is a guy who shows his emotions easily on the sidelines. He gets angry and he coaches to win. This can’t be easy for him, at all.

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices