Report: Fred Hoiberg lost the Bulls, players were emboldened to undermine his authority
The sudden firing of Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg took the league (and Hoiberg) by surprise, as the front-office duo of Gar Forman and John Paxson took matters into their own hands and pulled the plug after a three-plus-year partnership with the former NBA player. According to a report by Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic, Hoiberg had already lost the locker room as players had started to rebel against him and his system.
Multiple league sources said Hoiberg had lost the team, saying players no longer believed in his system and became increasingly emboldened in undermining Hoiberg’s authority. Paxson packaged the message Monday with buzzwords: energy and effort, passion and spirit. Meanwhile, he used those same phrases to credit Boylen for “having the intangibles head coaches have.”
Internally, there was concern players would revolt more as the season marched on, with the defiance manifesting itself in numerous ways, be it players taking ill-advised shots or talking out of turn.”
The lack of clear structure and assessing a chain of command could have ultimately cost Hoiberg his job, as players no longer respected his authority in the locker room, despite his title of head coach.
This respect is hard to gain back, and a common mistake that rookie head coaches make coming into the league, at times befriending their stars too closely and alienating others in the process.
There is a fine line between building relationships and allowing players to overstep boundaries, a line that proved too tough for Hoiberg to trace.