The Chicago Bulls have parted ways with head coach Fred Hoiberg after three-plus seasons, per sources.
“Decisions like this one are never easy to make, however I felt this was the right choice for our organization at this time,” said Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson in a statement.
“After a thorough evaluation, I elected to make this move with the overall development of our team in mind,” he continued. “As a team, I believe it is imperative that we make unfaltering strides in the right direction and build the right habits to help put our players in the best position to evolve not only now, but into the future. I want to thank Fred for his dedication and efforts, as well as for his enduring commitment to our team.”
Jim Boylen, longtime NBA assistant head coach and who has been Hoiberg’s associate head coach for all four seasons, will take over as head coach. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s uncertain whether or not Boylen will serve as the interim or the new head coach. However, he does have a contract that pays him almost $1 million annually that runs through next season.
Boylen has been an assistant with the Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors, and San Antonio Spurs. He also coached in the college ranks, taking the University of Utah to one NCAA Tournament appearance in his four years as head coach.
Hoiberg’s Bulls are 5-19 on the season which is second to last in the Eastern Conference. Hoiberg coached at Iowa State before being named the head coach of the Bulls in 2015. His overall record with Chicago was 115-155. The Bulls made the playoffs one time in Hoiberg’s tenure during Chicago’s 2016-2017 season, they were eliminated by the Boston Celtics.
According to The Chicago Sun-Times, Hoiberg was taken aback by the firing. He also isn’t looking to immediately go back to coach college as he hopes to get another crack at the NBA.
Many never believed that the hiring of Hoiberg could initially work due to in large part that a college coach coming to the NBA hasn’t had much success. However, after seeing the success that Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan had with the team and he came from the college ranks, the Bulls decided to give him a shot.
Chicago was kind of in an interesting position once signing Hoiberg. The Derrick Rose era was over and you thought that it would be the beginning of the Jimmy Butler era and you brought in Dwyane Wade, however that didn’t work. In addition, when you made the playoffs, that team really didn’t stay together for very much longer after that so you bring in Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine, and Kris Dunn. So essentially you’re going through the rebuilding phase.
So, you don’t know really how to feel when it comes to the firing because Hoiberg has had to deal with essentially two and you can argue three different rosters, in my opinion. Chicago went from “we’re trying to win so we’re going to rebuild”, but felt they had a good enough team to at least make the playoffs. In addition, Chicago was expecting Hoiberg to make it work, sort of like what the Lakers are doing with Luke Walton at the moment and what Cleveland did when they had David Blatt.
Even due to the circumstances, he did win 115 games as head coach, so it’s not like he can’t coach in the NBA. However, if he’s going to coach elsewhere and that elsewhere is in the NBA, he may want to be with a team that knows what they want to do as far as we’re rebuilding or we’re trying to contend.
In addition, let’s not act like Chicago wasn’t patient with him. They gave him nearly four years. However, Chicago isn’t a very good team. They do have nice pieces, however, but it’s not like they could really be seen currently as a playoff team or a contending team.
Minnesota may be a team that Hoiberg could land within the coming season should Tom Thibodeau leave. Washington may also be a destination as that team may look to just completely restart or even a young team like the Orlando Magic. However, there’s going to be a team that says we’ll give him an opportunity.