With the Chicago Bulls all but set to sign Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas as the team’s new executive vice president for basketball operations, there now appears to be a glimmer of hope for a franchise that has been on a downward spiral over the past few years.
One of the first items on Karsinovas’ agenda will undoubtedly be signing the team’s new head coach. Jim Boylen, the team’s current interim head coach who took over last season following the firing of Fred Hoiberg, has been doing a pretty bang up job of late — all things considered — but it does not sound like he is going to be the Bulls’ long-term option at the helm.
That being said, we’ve rounded up a list of five potential candidates that will make a lot of sense as Chicago’s new head coach for the 2020-21 campaign.
Joerger, currently the head coach of the Sacramento Kings, has been making waves in Sactown this season. Many believe that the Kings have far exceeded their preseason expectations, with the team just three and a half games outside the playoffs picture in a ruthless Western Conference prior to the league hiatus.
Joerger’s dispute with Kings general manager Brandon Williams has been well documented, and it appears that they continue to be at an impasse. This could mean that Joerger might just part ways with the Kings this summer, and if this happens to be the case, the Bulls should pounce.
Joerger’s has proven that he can bring out the best out of a mediocre team, so perhaps he can work his magic in Chicago.
Becky Hammon is looking like a shoo-in as the NBA’s first female coach, and at this point, it feels like it is only matter of time before she finally gets there. Chicago will be in the market and they should seriously consider the former WNBA legend.
Hammon has been under the wing of San Antonio Spurs legendary coach Gregg Popovich for years now, and there’s no doubt that she has learned from the best. The success rate of Popovich’s former associates turned head coach in the NBA is pretty impressive (Mike Budenholzer, Steve Kerr, Mike D’Antoni, Alvin Gentry, Quin Snyder, to name a few), and odds are, Hammon is going to have a similar trajectory once she is given the opportunity.
How does a reunion with Tom Thibodeau sound like? He may not have left the Bulls in the best of terms some five years ago, but perhaps now is the time to let bygones be bygones. Thibodeau is currently unemployed after parting ways with the Minnesota Timberwolves, so he should be available.
Let’s not forget that Thibs was the man that led that historic 62-win season for the Bulls in 2010-11, with Derrick Rose becoming the youngest MVP in NBA history. The current Bulls side does not hold a candle to that particular lineup, but with history on his side, Thibodeau might just be able to lead the revival in Chicago.
The last we saw Blatt as an NBA head coach was with the Cleveland Cavaliers nearly half a decade ago. After just a season and a half, the Cavs decided to fire Blatt, who made a triumphant return to Europe, as he continued building on his legacy as one of the greatest coaches in Euroleague history.
In December, the Knicks hired Blatt as a operations consultant, and he has also gone on the record to say that he has officially retired from coaching. Nonetheless, if the Bulls come knocking then they might just pique Blatt’s interest. What Chicago will be able to bring to the table is an opportunity for Blatt to redeem himself following a rather unsuccessful and short-lived NBA career. He is a proven winner, and definitely has what it takes to take this current Chicago side to the next level.
Adrian Griffin, a former NBA journeyman that had a relatively uneventful nine-year career in the league between 1999 and 2008, is not exactly a headline-grabbing name as a potential head coach. As a matter of fact, he has no experience in the NBA as a head coach of yet. Nonetheless, he has been a long-time assistant coach for several teams, including a stint with the Bulls under Thibodeau.
Last season, Griffin emerged as one of the most sought-after assistant coaches after playing a pivotal role in the coaching staff of Nick Nurse, who as we all know, led the Toronto Raptors to a fairy tale-like championship last year.
Now at 45 and with a ton of experience — albeit as an assistant — under his belt, Griffin now seems primed to take on a head coaching position. The kicker here is that Griffin played with Karnisovas in Setton Hall, and according to reports, they have remained as close friends since. This could potentially give Griffin the edge over all other candidates, with Karnisovas probably open to giving the rookie coach his shot.