Chicago Bulls: Wes Unseld Jr. was a serious HC candidate before Billy Donovan

Wes Unseld Jr. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Wes Unseld Jr. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Nuggets lead assistant coach Wes Unseld Jr. was reportedly a frontrunner to get the Chicago Bulls job prior to Billy Donovan coming available.

Back on Sep. 22, the Chicago Bulls had the hiring of former Oklahoma City Thunder and Florida Gators hoops head coach Billy Donovan announced as their replacement for former head coach Jim Boylen. Donovan seems like a much better head coach for this Bulls rebuild heading into its fourth year than Boylen was.

It looked like the Bulls at one point were going to have a lengthy process for their coaching search. There were a lot of names on the table, but once Donovan came available, it was game over.

According to a report from Mike Singer of the Denver Post on Oct. 8, the Bulls were seriously considering hiring Wes Unseld Jr. prior to the Thunder parting ways with Donovan. The Bulls announced the hiring of Donovan pretty soon after the Thunder let him go. It seems like there was almost immediate interest and traction from the Bulls to hire Donovan last month.

And the Nuggets assistant coach Unseld Jr. is reportedly now interviewing for the head coaching job openings with both the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers. The Rockets head coach opening came about after they parted ways with former head coach Mike D’Antoni last month. D’Antoni led the Rockets to the four-seed in the Western Conference this year, but were ousted in a five-game series in the second round of the playoffs by the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers.

It is interesting that the Clippers are considering Unseld Jr., but it’s also not that surprising. The two-seed Clippers were ousted in the second round of the playoffs in a seven-game series by the three-seed Nuggets. Unseld Jr. was given a lot of the credit for helping the Nuggets scheme up a gameplan to comeback and upset former head coach Doc Rivers and the Clippers.

However, the traction between Unseld Jr. and the Bulls made a lot of sense. Former Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas was hired by the Bulls to be their executive vice president of basketball operations, a.k.a. the lead voice in the front office. Karnisovas would likely be fond of a hiring that stemmed from a previous connection if they brought Unseld Jr. aboard as the head coach.

Next. 3 possible James Harden trades with the Rockets. dark

Boylen led the Bulls to finish up with a record of 39-84 during his two years as the head coach. And during the shortened 2019-20 regular season individually, Boylen led the Bulls to a record of 22-43.