Is this offseason finally the time when the Chicago Bulls front office will really get a coaching search underway in correct fashion?
Potentially the biggest overarching question mark for the Chicago Bulls this offseason is what the new-look front office regime is planning to do about current head coach Jim Boylen. Now that the Bulls have significantly reshaped the front office personnel from the top-down, a lot of the focus will turn to what the new regime does with the coaching staff. And Boylen is clearly the biggest question mark on this staff.
The main question that will arise is whether the Bulls will give Boylen another chance with a shorter leash to see how he fits with the new front office, or if they will let him go and conduct a full coaching search. He doesn’t carry much of any popularity it seems around the league, and definitely doesn’t within the fan base and most of the media.
There’s even some new potential names mentioned with ties to the Bulls if they do wind up letting go of Boylen and conducting an actual coaching search. Those names include former Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, Philadelphia 76ers lead assistant Ime Udoka, and Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin.
And there is writing on the wall that Boylen’s tenure could be winding down as head coach in the Windy City.
According to an interview with Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times on 670TheScore earlier in the week, the fate of Boylen could be “sealed” already at this point time. Here’s a bit of what Cowley has to say on this matter (monologue from Sun-Times).
A coaching change isn’t being asked for, it’s being demanded. Fair or unfair, the fans want Jim Boylen out.
As the Sun-Times has reported, Boylen’s fate was all but sealed after a handful of players – several of them the Bulls’ better talent – painted a less than flattering picture of Boylen to new executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas in individual calls Karnisovas made upon taking the job.
Then add in several other behind-the-scenes waves, the fact that new regimes almost always want their own guy in the head-coaching chair and, of course, Boylen’s .317 winning percentage, and it doesn’t look great for Boylen once the Bulls can start talking to candidates rather than using back channels.
That piece from Cowley also mentions a pretty far fetched scenario where former Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau returns to replace Boylen in that same role. That might not be the best move for the Bulls, but parting ways with Boylen would be a good first step.
By all accounts, the Bulls new lead executive Arturas Karnisovas is going to be patient with the process of configuring the coaching staff. He certainly has a lot of time to do so with the team not being part of the NBA’s 22-team restart plan to the season at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL. Taking his time to get a good grasp on his plans for the bigger picture of the organization is a solid move.
Albeit it would be nice to see a patient, but thorough, coaching search ensue a potential parting with Boylen this offseason. There are definitely plenty of whispers going around about his possible departure in the near future.
The last two permanent coaching hires the Bulls made were not wise. They prematurely hired former head coach Fred Hoiberg and that didn’t go well. And last offseason they handed out a three-year contract extension to an undeserving interim, at the time. They need a better plan to handle the head coaching job this time around.