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Bulls’ Jim Boylen ‘ecstatic’ for Fred Hoiberg landing Nebraska job

Jim Boylen, Fred Hoiberg, Bulls

There’s no fraternity quite like that of the NBA’s head coaches. Across the league, everyone from icons like the San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich to unknown assistants toiling away in anonymity subscribe to an etiquette that deems public criticism of coaching peers foul. As such, it’s hardly surprising to hear Chicago Bulls coach Jim Boylen express joy at predecessor Fred Hoiberg getting a new job roaming the sidelines.

In response to Hoiberg signing a seven-year, $25 million deal on Saturday to become the head coach at University of Nebraska, Boylen said he was “ecstatic.”

Of course, it’s not like Boylen and Hoiberg grew crossways after the latter was replaced by the former in early December, either. In fact, Boylen has gone out of his way to praise Hoiberg and deflect criticism of him during his brief time in Chicago’s lead chair. The pair spent three seasons together on Chicago’s bench before Hoiberg was dismissed.

Boylen’s tenure as the Bulls’ head coach got off to a rocky start. Less than a week after replacing Hoiberg, Boylen scheduled a practice the day after the second game of a back-to-back. Bulls players protested and even pondered not showing up for the session in a group text message. Instead, they ultimately decided to arrive at the team’s practice facility and hold a meeting, discussing their differences with Boylen.

Fortunately, that marked the low point of the season for Chicago, which played well in the immediate aftermath of acquiring starting small forward Otto Porter from the Washington Wizards at the trade deadline. Injuries have come back to bite the Bulls of late, though, as they’ve lost eight of their last 10 games.