Report: Coaches, executives claim Bulls’ front office is ‘a mess’
The sudden firing of head coach Fred Hoiberg has left a lot of unanswered questions for Chicago Bulls fans, who know the real issues start and end with a deplorable front-office duo of general manager Gar Forman and vice president John Paxson.
A longtime NBA coach could see the wheels in motion even years before the Bulls cut the cord on Hoiberg.
“Hoiberg’s safe for now, but you watch,” the coach told Ken Berger of Bleacher Report in the midst of the 2016-17 season. “About a year or two left on his deal and they’re losing, you’ll see. Those guys aren’t going anywhere and they know it.”
Just as predicted, Hoiberg was fired with a year-and-change left on his contract (check), with the team record at a mere 5-19 (check), and with Forman and Paxson still untouched by ownership (check).
Yet Hoiberg is only part of a long list of coaches who have suffered a similar fate.
“Every coach there starts on the same page and then kind of quickly, there becomes a divide,” a rival executive said. “[Scott] Skiles, [Vinny] Del Negro, Thibs (Tom Thibodeau); I don’t know where that comes from. It seems like that front office turns on their coaches pretty quickly. They kind of have those factions working against each other.”
“It’s a mess,” a rival coach said. “What direction are they going?”
Just as they did when hiring Hoiberg, the Bulls didn’t bother to search for a coach in the midst of their vacancy, choosing to make associate head coach Jim Boylen the permanent helmsman after giving the former the boot.
“Even before they fired Thibs, we all knew it was going to be Fred, and they only interviewed Fred,” a league source said. “They’re not taking advantage of the benefits of a search.”
A search often allows a front office to discuss different plans and visions for a team, only helping steer the ship in a constructive way. Yet this front office has squandered this chance twice in a row, with Boylen becoming the fifth head coach under their long regime.
“Most GMs get, like, three (coaches),” the rival executive said.
This is far from the only smear in the Forman-Paxson regime, as they have gotten plenty of blame, and rightfully so, for a series of questionable decisions and blatant lack of interest in the best interest of the franchise.