The Chicago Bulls have parted ways with head coach Tom Thibodeau, the team announced Thursday.
The move comes after the Bulls ended their season with a blowout 94-73 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers at the United Center earlier this month.
Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said the move was intended to bring the team back to its culture of trust.
"Teams that consistently perform at the highest levels are able to come together and be unified across the organization-staff, players, coaches, management and ownership," Reinsdorf said in a statement. "When everyone is on the same page, trust develops and teams can grow and succeed together. Unfortunately, there has been a departure from this culture. To ensure that the Chicago Bulls can continue to grow and succeed, we have decided that a change in the head coaching position is required."
“Days like today are difficult, but necessary for us to achieve our goals and fulfill our commitments to our fans,” the statement read. “I appreciate the contributions that Tom Thibodeau made to the Bulls organization. I have always respected his love of the game and wish him well in the future.”
Earlier reports indicated clashes between the coach and management. Thibodeau has two years and $9 million remaining on his contract with the team.
In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Thibodeau thanked his players, staff, fans and Reinsdorf.
"We are proud of our many accomplishments, fought through adversity, and tried to give our fans the full commitment to excellence they deserve," he said.
President Barack Obama tweeted his support for the head coach Thursday, saying he thinks "he did a great job" and he's "sorry to see him go."
Thibodeau has 21 years in the NBA as an assistant coach and was named the head coach in Chicago in 2010. During his five seasons at the helm of the Bulls, Thibodeau’s teams compiled an overall record of 255-133, the second-best mark in the NBA over that span.
Tensions mounted between Thibodeau and the front office during his tenure as squabbles over playing time and offensive strategy turned the relationship between the two sides into a sour and tense one. Things came to a head during the 2014-15 season as Thibodeau refused to make Doug McDermott, whom the Bulls acquired for two draft picks during the 2014 NBA Draft, a regular part of the team's rotation.
"When Tom was hired in 2010, he was right for our team and system at that time, and over the last five years we have had some success with Tom as our head coach,” Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman said in a statement. “But as we looked ahead and evaluated how we as a team and an organization could continue to grow and improve, we believed a change in approach was needed."
With the change at the head coaching position, the Bulls are believed to be interested in Iowa State basketball coach Fred Hoiberg. Reports have also circulated that they could target Golden State Warriors assistant Alvin Gentry when the team is done playing in the NBA Finals.
Forman did not name Thibodeau's replacement.
"Quite simply, we're going to be looking for the right fit; the right fit for our individual players, the right fit for our team, the right fit for our organization," he said at a Thursday afternoon press conference. "We'll be looking for somebody who's a leader, whose got great communication skills, whose got an excellent knowledge of the game of basketball, someone that's an open and creative learner."