NBA Rumor: Bulls Coaching Job

78 rumors in this storyline

Are the Thunder going to hire a coach who is going to challenge Simmons to evolve on offense? This should be a major concern. Billy Donovan was a solid day-to-day team manager who had his problems making in-game adjustments, but the biggest knock on him I gathered from years of conversations with people around the Thunder and the NBA is he never had the respect of star players. Are the Thunder going to hire someone who they are simply comfortable with, or a guy who’s going to challenge convention and command respect?

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Before anyone buys too much stock in what White was saying/guessing, however, there are other indications that the Bulls have at least moved into a second round of interviews in the coaching search process. Besides several sources indicating that the first round wrapped up last week, several sportsbooks have taken down the odds on the next Bulls head coach because of all the one-sided action that was being placed on Denver assistant coach Wes Unseld Jr.

Udoka, specifically, has reportedly generated a bit of buzz down in the NBA’s Disney World bubble as it pertains to the Bulls’ opening. “I think he’s a very, very strong candidate for [the Bulls’] job,” Sports Illustrated senior NBA writer Chris Mannix, who is in the bubble, said on the latest Bulls Talk Podcast. “There’s been a lot of chatter in Orlando about Ime and the Bulls’ position because, in part, the (Marc) Eversley connection from their days in Philadelphia.”

Bulls talking to several assistants

The Chicago Bulls were granted permission to speak with several assistants for the franchise’s head coaching job and interviews with candidates are well underway, sources told ESPN. No permission was necessary for former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson to interview, but new executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley are talking to several assistant coaches still involved in the playoffs, including Milwaukee’s Darvin Ham, Denver’s Wes Unseld Jr. and Miami’s Dan Craig, sources said.

Karnisovas and Eversley, who have held down league or front office positions since 2003 and 2006, respectively, have previously existing networks and relationships they trust. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that both men already have their eyes — and perhaps their hearts — set on a certain coach. But this is the NBA, where everyone knows there is one thing that gives certain head coaching candidates a leg up. “A call from Gregg Popovich,” the East scout said. “Hey, that’s the reality. Has he hired coaches? Yeah, he’s hired a lot of people around the league. So I think Ime has that advantage. I think Marc and Arturas are smart enough to understand that game. I know they are. But I mean, Pop is Pop. That helps.”

Prior to the Nuggets, Unseld Jr. had assistant coaching stints in Orlando, Golden State and Washington — franchises that didn’t win much and didn’t have great cultures during his time with them. But his ties to Karnisovas can’t be understated. “That’s got to be working in his favor if he’s on the list,” the West scout said. “That means he’s got a favorable opinion of him, I’m sure. He’s seen him up close and personal. He’s seen him work.”

While the list of candidates may grow, several coaches and executives around the league believe there is one candidate who stands out amongst the current group – Atkinson. “I think the list will change, but out of the group mentioned, I think Kenny would be the favorite,” one general manager told HoopsHype. “Some of it depends on Arturas’ timeline, but Kenny can coach, and he can oversee player development. He will be able to compete on the court while also continuing to develop the young guys.”

“No brainer, Kenny Atkinson,” one NBA scout told HoopsHype. “It’s a young team. He will do for Chicago exactly what he did for Brooklyn. He’ll have them overachieve, outhustle and outwork teams on a nightly basis. They will be physical, smart, and tough to guard because they will share the ball. Plus, he’s a no-nonsense, direct, fair coach who relates very well to players. He’d be my pick.” In Chicago, Atkinson would be reunited with assistant coach Chris Fleming, whom he worked with for three seasons in Brooklyn.

“I think Vanterpool will be good if he gets an opportunity,” one former NBA executive told HoopsHype. “He’s a high-level player relator, which has been a piece they’re missing there.” Vanterpool was an assistant coach with the Blazers for six seasons while Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum emerged as one of the league’s premier backcourts. “Keep an eye on Ime Udoka,” an NBA scout told HoopsHype. “He’s a bright, young up and coming head coach candidate. It’s only a matter of time before he’s hired.”

Several candidates have emerged, including former Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, Nuggets assistant Wes Unseld Jr., Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin, Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, 76ers assistant Ime Udoka, Timberwolves assistant David Vanterpool, and Mavericks assistant Stephen Silas, according to multiple reports. While the list of candidates may grow, several coaches and executives around the league believe there is one candidate who stands out amongst the current group – Atkinson. “I think the list will change, but out of the group mentioned, I think Kenny would be the favorite,” one general manager told HoopsHype. “Some of it depends on Arturas’ timeline, but Kenny can coach, and he can oversee player development. He will be able to compete on the court while also continuing to develop the young guys.”

The biggest name to watch is Ime Udoka. Currently the Philadelphia 76ers’ top assistant coach under head coach Brett Brown, Udoka has familiarity with new Bulls general manager Marc Eversley while Eversley was an executive with the Sixers and carries a strong reputation around the league Over the next few weeks, league insiders are keeping an eye on the situation in Philadelphia as the Sixers have underwhelmed for the second straight season. If the short-handed Sixers lose in the first round, Udoka could be in line for a promotion with the Sixers.

Any negative player feedback regarding Boylen, which on Monday featured a jab from backup center Daniel Gafford as he streamed himself playing video games, it seems management is trying to offset by creating a positive, inclusive atmosphere. That atmosphere has included Boylen, who sources said visited White in North Carolina as part of Boylen’s normal offseason routine to build relationships with players. For now, those visits are on hold with so many players in-market and COVID-19 cases spiking again.
1 year ago via ESPN

The Chicago Bulls have agreed on a multi-year contract extension with coach Jim Boylen, league sources told ESPN. After replacing Fred Hoiberg in December, Boylen had agreed on a short contract that would take him through the end of the 2019-2020 season, but this new deal will replace it. Bulls ownership and management consider Boylen the teacher the franchise needs now with a young roster, and loved the way he’s been able to build relationships with players along with holding them accountable and coaching them hard.

After Hoiberg’s firing in December, Boylen was promoted from associate head coach. From the beginning, the Bulls made it clear that they would likely not be conducting a coaching search in the offseason, electing to make Boylen coach instead of an interim. Boylen had a tumultuous beginning to his tenure as head coach but eventually started to show improvement as players began to respond to his hard-driving coaching style. Zach LaVine, who was skeptical of Boylen’s coaching-style early on, has since said that he has learned to trust the first-year coach. In March, LaVine went so far as to offer to pay an ejection fine for Boylen.
2 years ago via ESPN

On an afternoon in late September, the Chicago Bulls head coach was fulfilling his media obligations prior to a preseason practice. As Hoiberg answered questions about his team, his lead assistant, Jim Boylen, called the players into a huddle at the other end of the gym — beginning practice without Hoiberg. Once Hoiberg noticed, he mumbled a goodbye and rushed over to join the rest of the team. Fast forward two months and Boylen — the Bulls’ new head coach after Chicago fired Hoiberg on Monday morning — will now be running practices on a full-time basis.
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