An ongoing coaching search for the Chicago Bulls to replace former head coach Jim Boylen could lead them to Ime Udoka of the Sixers.
The ongoing situation for the Chicago Bulls of figuring out who the next head coach will be could be drawn out over most of the remainder of the offseason. After letting go of former head coach Jim Boylen back on Aug. 14, the Bulls officially opened up one of the biggest market jobs in the entirety of the NBA.
Now the Bulls are a part of a list of head coach openings around the NBA that also includes the Brooklyn Nets (former Kenny Atkinson), Philadelphia 76ers (formerly Brett Brown), Indiana Pacers (formerly Nate McMillan), Cleveland Cavaliers (formerly John Beilein), and New Orleans Pelicans (formerly Alvin Gentry). Potentially the most appealing of those will be the Nets and Pelicans.
While the Sixers and Pacers have situations where head coaches can win immediately with a talented and playoff caliber roster, they do have some volatility to them. The Pacers haven’t got past the first round of the playoffs since former head coach Frank Vogel (now with the Los Angeles Lakers) was leading the way.
And the Sixers situation between the front office piecing together a poorly fit roster, along with all the friction between Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid could present a problem for their next head coach. It’s hard to blame Brown alone for all that happened in Philly over the course of the last two years.
Meanwhile, teams like the Bulls and Cavaliers have full on rebuilds that they’re trying to take on right now. Whatever head coaches take these two jobs within the Central Division will have a lot of work to do.
In the Bulls case, there’s a few names that are coming to mind as to who they could hire next to lead the way heading into the fourth year of the rebuild. Names like former Nets head coach Atkinson, Sixers lead assistant Ime Udoka, and Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin are often tossed around with the Bulls head coaching job.
According to a report from Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times on Aug. 26, the favorite in the early stages of the Bulls coaching search could be Udoka. That is something that was mentioned a good bit in the last two weeks since this job opened up. Udoka’s name was even mentioned in connection with the Bulls head coaching job since Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley were first hired back in spring.
Here’s more on what this piece from Cowley of the Sun-Times had to say on the matter.
So do they go first-time head coach, roll the dice from the college ranks or look at someone who has a more established head-coaching résumé at the NBA level?
Assistant coach Ime Udoka of the 76ers was said to be the early leader in the clubhouse, according to several NBA scouts, and there have been no indications that Udoka’s high standing has changed, especially with official interviews still being scheduled.
There is a good point here that Udoka might be the right hire for the Bulls since he would be a big change of pace compared to the likes of former head coaches Boylen and Fred Hoiberg. Going the college route didn’t work out with the Hoiberg hiring. And Boylen obviously didn’t pan out all that well either.
The Bulls finished up the 2019-20 season with a record of 22-43. They finished 11th in the Eastern Conference standings, and Boylen finished up his run as Bulls head coach with a record of 39-84.