Coaching Changes Await The Bulls?

Coaching Changes Await The Bulls?
Bulls associate head coach Jim Boylen, center, talks with head coach Fred Hoiberg, left, during a game against Phoenix on Dec. 7, 2015. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)

Time hasn’t afforded the Bulls any stability with their coaching staff.

After firing Tom Thibodeau almost twelve months ago and replacing him with Fred Hoiberg, the Bulls now face another offseason of filling holes within its coaching department.

Currently holding the role of associate head coach, Jim Boylen has been flagged as a potential successor to Frank Vogel, whose contract will not be renewed by the Indiana Pacers, according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports.

As an assistant to Vogel in Indiana, familiarity and a pedigree that includes an apprenticeship with the San Antonio Spurs stand to make Boylen a strong candidate for the Pacers’ vacancy. While the search for a replacement is only beginning for the Pacers, should Boylen be successful in his desire to become an NBA head coach, the Bulls will be forced to join the hunt for a new associate head coach.

Already in the market for more veteran NBA experience to add to Fred Hoiberg’s staff, Randy Brown and Charlie Henry are no longer expected to reprise their current role as assistants, as per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

The Tribune previously has reported that coach Fred Hoiberg’s staff will be tweaked and that Randy Brown is expected to move back into a front-office role. Sources indicated Charlie Henry, who followed Hoiberg from Iowa State to the Bulls, also could be off the bench. The Bulls are seeking to add more NBA experience to Hoiberg’s staff.

The potential shakeup of the coaching staff signals the start of many changes that are expected to surround the Bulls throughout the offseason.

A remodeling of the roster was already an agenda item for Bulls management, who now must also address several coaching vacancies. With vacant head coaching roles across the league that require filling, it would be opportunistic of the Bulls to target any unsuccessful candidate for the current availabilities, and to offer them a role as part of Hoiberg’s coaching department.

Among the available coachng candidates looking to reenter the NBA, former Phoenix Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek – who just so happens to be an Iowa State alumni – has experience in dealing with a dual scoring backcourt, could greatly assist Hoiberg in dealing with the co-existence of Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler.

Irrespective of Boylen potentially jumping ship to Indiana, the addition of quality veteran coaches with different ideas formed from outside of the franchise would be a sound decision. Nepotistic roles for former members of the Bulls organization who possess little coaching acumen must be abandoned.

It’s clear that Fred Hoiberg needs support, therefore surrounding the sophomore coach with ample knowledge and resources that he can lean on during his continued development as coach will be beneficial for the Bulls moving forward.


Follow on Twitter: @mkarantzoulis


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  • As you already mentioned the Bulls need some different players on their roster. I don't see Hoiberg as the type of presence that will lead a team to success, but having stars and the right support players will give him a fair chance. You mentioned all the slow defensive liability players the Bulls have. They also have two major minutes core pieces in Rose and Butler who can't shoot threes. The team is highly flawed. We'll see what Gar/Pax do, but even though they are a "top 5-10" front office execs as some have reiterated it remains to be seen if they can assemble well rounded athletes who are also competitors. Just for the love of god get some guards who can shoot threes!

  • This could actually go really badly for the FO if Boylen leaves and they fail to fortify Hoiberg's staff. Fred could flail through a second year and basically force the team to fire him and start all over, again. I like the Jeff Hornacek idea a lot, maybe he can show Niko how to shoot more consistently.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I agree completely. Boylen is really the only credible assistant on Hoiberg's staff. If he walks and is replaced by a lesser coach, it could really go south for Fred, which would be unfair. If the front office aren't going to do their all to support their guy, they've truly lost it.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Hopefully, removing the sad sack mope a dope attitude(s) of Gasol and Rose will have as big of a positive impact on the remaining players as any coaching changes. Hornacek does seem like the kind of guy we need on our coaching staff.

    As for Boylen, it is really hard to say how much of an impact he had, as the defense got progressively worse as the season went on, with few if any players showing any improvement over the course of the season. Mirotic was particularly dreadful after returning from his health issues, physically inept, mentally moronic and a complete zero in the effort department. Little dougie jarhead looks athletically hopeless on D, while we can only hope that Portis was just a dumb rookie and has at least the minimal intelligence to become a positive on the defensive end.

    It doesn't look like the dobermans (Jordan, Pippen and Rodman/Grant) are walking through the door any time soon.

  • The problem is Jimmy Butler. No leadership skills. He has not learned how to win. If you have the ball, you're responsible for winning. I don't want to hear about his defense or 20 points a game. If you don't win, it's on you if you're touting yourself as the (self annointed) top player. When Derrick was MVP they had the best record in the league.

  • In reply to sammy:

    Please. Butler, like the current version of Rose are not 1A type go to players. They are both the next level below, 1B, if you will.
    Neither can carry the team on his own. They're still the Bulls best players and need each other.
    They also need a couple consistent shooting, versatile, two way players to kick the ball out to. The young guys are still very inconsistent and can't be left in very long, because of defensive deficiencies.
    They either have to supplement the team around both Rose and Butler or completely rebuild by moving both of them.
    Neither is the type that could carry the team on their own with just complimentary players. They both need another all star level go to guy next to them who can create their own shot.
    Trading one of the other, wouldn't bring back enough to get over the hump.
    Trading both might bring back enough to eventually break through, but it would take a long time and you'd be depending on GarPax to do it well, which is not very likely.

  • In reply to rqdbears:

    Trading Butler could bring in a solid return, in terms of picks and a decent player... but unless the Bulls hit on the lottery pick, they will lose that deal.

    As for Rose, I'm not sure what you can get, if anything, for him. He just had his best year since 2011-2012, but he is 1-year away from free agency and his contract is huge. The only shot is a team that misses out on elite FA talent this summer, but wants to take a swing at Rose - but we'd probably only get a first rounder at best - and it would be mid-later in the first round, so nothing exciting.

    I do hate Rose and Butler together since they cannot shoot - especially Rose.

  • In reply to Granby:

    In today's NBA, somebody in your backcourt needs to shoot 3s, end of story.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Hey, we got guys who shoot them, we need somebody who can actually make them at a high rate.

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