According to one person with knowledge of the negotiations, Donovan came away impressed as much with Karnišovas and new general manager Marc Eversley as he was with the job they were selling him. After the two sides concluded the interview process, there was a shared feeling that the marriage was a natural fit.
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The Bulls hired Donovan, 55, to replace Jim Boylen on Tuesday, another sign that new executive vice president Artūras Karnišovas means business. And Noah, in a phone conversation from New York, strongly praised the move. “It feels great. I just know they’re in good hands,” Noah said. “It’s a team that I sacrificed a lot for, given a lot for. So when I see a hire like that, it just makes me happy. I know that I have family in the building. It’s exciting.
“I’m happy for the Bulls’ organization because they’re getting a great coach, somebody who is an unbelievable motivator and somebody who is family to me. When they decided to name the (Florida) court ‘Billy Donovan Court’ all his old players came to support him. That just says a lot about who is as a man and who he is as a person — just the fact everybody would show up for his celebration. “He’s someone who cares about his players, someone who is very demanding, someone who is very competitive and just has a great balance to him. It’s a great hire.”
Chris Mannix: Bulls officially announce Billy Donovan as head coach.
The Chicago Bulls have hired Billy Donovan as the team’s head coach. In accordance with team policy, terms of the contract were not announced.
“We are very pleased to welcome Billy and his family to the Chicago Bulls. The success that he has sustained over the course of his coaching career puts him on a different level,” said Chicago Bulls Executive Vice President – Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas. “We feel his ability to help his players reach their potential, both individually and collectively, will mesh well with our roster. Whether as a player or as a coach, he has won everywhere his career has taken him, and we hope that will continue here in Chicago.”
Bradley Beal: Yes!!!!
Billy Donovan has agreed to a deal to become the next coach of the Chicago Bulls, sources tell ESPN. Chicago Bulls executive VP of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas aggressively pursued Donovan in the aftermath of Donovan’s leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder after five seasons, sources said, selling Donovan on a partnership and vision for a talented young roster and chance to lead one of the league’s anchor franchises.
Karnisovas and GM Marc Eversley believed Donovan was the best coach available in the marketplace, and his track record in Oklahoma City — including five straight trips to the playoffs in the Western Conference – fit for the Bulls. Donovan, 56, was the National Basketball Coach’s Association’s Co-Coach of the Year with Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer for 2019-2020. The NBA’s coaches vote on the award. Karnisovas dismissed former coach Jim Boylen in May, and talked with a number of candidates before extending the offer to Donovan.
Darnell Mayberry: Can confirm Billy Donovan has agreed to become the Chicago Bulls next head coach. @Adrian Wojnarowski first to report.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Billy Donovan has agreed to a deal to become the next coach of the Chicago Bulls, sources tell ESPN.
Darnell Mayberry on Dan Craig for Bulls head coaching job: “I think he checks those boxes in the sense of being a good relationship guy being, a bright mind in terms of understanding the game and also having hard working mentality. You can just tell in his background, the way he had to fight for everything going to the league, what his personality is about, I think he would bring that as a coach. The knock that I continue to hear on him is that he’s not a strong enough personality
The search for a Bulls head coach took on some intrigue late Tuesday night, when Oklahoma City announced they were parting ways with Donovan after five seasons. Multiple reports indicated that the Bulls would have interest in Donovan, and a source on Wednesday confirmed that they indeed do.
In his four seasons with Brooklyn, Atkinson had a .500 mark just once – 42-40 in the 2018-19 season – and was fired with a .383 overall winning percentage. The concern is that several current and former NBA coaches have told the Sun-Times that Atkinson has a growing reputation as a bit of a self-promoter, and the Bulls just ridded themselves of a guy like that when they fired Jim Boylen last month.
Sam Amick: Source tells @TheAthletic that Billy Donovan, who has parted ways with OKC, is expected to be a candidate for the Sixers’ opening. Clippers asst. Ty Lue, as has been reported, also among the candidates.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Chicago Bulls are expected to have an interest in considering Donovan for the franchise’s head coaching job, sources tell ESPN. The Bulls are just completing a first-round of interviews with several candidates.
Chris Mannix: I’ve heard from a lot of executives that believe that Arturas (Karnisovas) has a strong idea of who he wants to hire and just is keeping a kind of under his hat for right now.
Mavericks assistants Jamahl Mosley and Stephen Silas are reportedly candidates for the Chicago Bulls’ head coaching job. A sourcedd told The Dallas Morning News on Tuesday that Mosley has permission to interview this offseason.
Assistant coach Ime Udoka of the 76ers was said to be the early leader in the clubhouse, according to several NBA scouts, and there have been no indications that Udoka’s high standing has changed, especially with official interviews still being scheduled.
KC Johnson: Had Atkinson and Unseld Jr. in initial story. Can confirm @Adrian Wojnarowski intel that Bucks assistant Darvin Ham will draw consideration. Other names, per source: Mavs assistant Stephen Silas and 76ers assistant Ime Udoka. Expect the interview process to involve multiple candidates.
Does that coaching history explain why new Bulls president Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley are being so deliberate in assessing current coach Jim Boylen? Joe Cowley of the Chicago Suns-Times on 670 The Score: There is a perception problem, and when you come from the outside – like Arturas did and Marc Eversley have – you know what that perception problem is. Carlisle, the Dallas coach, has made it very clear the disdain the coaches association and a lot of coaches have for the Bulls and the practices they have toward coaches. The way they’ve treated them as commodities for more than three, four decades, the way they’ve fired guys on Christmas Eve. So, there is a perception problem that I think these guys want to change coming in now to this that the old regime didn’t care about nor did they maybe even see fully.
It’s twofold. They’re buying time because they have time to buy, but also I think it’s also a perception thing that they’re looking to change. As long as Jerry Reinsdorf sits in that powerful chair and he’s allowed executives to treat managers and coaches like this – look, everyone thinks players talk. Coaches talk, too. This place – in the Bulls and the Advocate Center – does not have a good reputation with coaches.
Sources have told the Sun-Times that 76ers assistant Ime Udoka is the front-runner to become the Bulls’ new coach, with Raptors assistant — and former Bulls assistant — Adrian Griffin also in the picture.
Michael and Jerry Reinsdorf have offered support for Boylen, but multiple sources have stressed ownership trusts Karnisovas and Co. and will allow them to have the final say on basketball matters. Players Zach LaVine and Thaddeus Young spoke with the media in a Zoom meeting Friday, and each played politician with the Boylen question.
While keeping in mind this is a report based on a hypothetical (if realistic) scenario where Boylen loses his job, it would not be a surprise to see Udoka get his first crack as a head coach next season, whenever that is. Well-regarded in coaching circles prior to arriving in Philadelphia, the Sixers made him one of the league’s highest-paid assistants, plucking him away from Gregg Popovich’s staff in San Antonio last June to offer his services behind Brett Brown.
For those who aren’t familiar with how Brown sets up his staff, he believes in doling out specialized responsibilities in a manner similar to NFL staffs. Udoka was tasked with being the team’s “defensive coordinator” this season, and you could often see him barking instructions from the sideline on big defensive possessions and pulling guys aside for last-minute instructions. And some of his instructions were just about basic fundamentals, like making sure defenders were showing their hands while fighting through screens.
While the Sixers were not the world-beating unit many thought they could be this season — Udoka himself said their roster was like “being in a candy store” as a defensive coordinator before the season — defense was certainly the strength of the team. If the season were canceled tomorrow, they would finish sixth in defensive efficiency, and that was the only part of the game where they were able to consistently take advantage of their personnel.
Boylen has laid low since the NBA suspended its season on March 11. His lone public comments came two weeks ago, in the form of a team-issued press release in which he welcomed Karnisovas, congratulated Michael and Jerry Reinsdorf and thanked former bosses John Paxson and Gar Forman once more. Behind the scenes, however, Boylen is working as if he’ll be in place next season. A league source told The Athletic minor changes already are in the works with the current staff.
Karnisovas, according to a source, wants to give his head coach, whether it’s Boylen or someone else, full autonomy in choosing his staff while the revamped front office focuses on player acquisitions. Until now, the Bulls had little reason to bother addressing Boylen’s future. And for as long as play is suspended — with no real end in sight — there is no rush.
While Boylen is hoping to stay, the easiest and most efficient way for Karnisovas to begin building the Bulls in his image is to bring in his own coach. Multiple rival executives who spoke to The Athletic on the condition of anonymity anticipate that is what the Bulls eventually will do, whether in the coming days or whenever the NBA announces plans for continuing or canceling its interrupted regular season. Either way, changes are coming.
So who could the next coach be? Two current assistant coaches are standing out as increasingly possible Boylen replacements whenever the job may open: Toronto’s Adrian Griffin and Philadelphia’s Ime Udoka. Both have ties to the new front-office regime. Both have long been mentioned in coaching circles as lead-man material. And on multiple levels, both fit the mold the Bulls previously have pursued.
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March 2, 2021 | 9:34 pm EST Update
Joe Mullinax: Ja Morant with 35 points and 10 assists. The Grizzlies with back-to-back huge wins setting themselves up to close out the first half of the season really well despite all of the other things. This team is different.
Harrison Faigen: Frank Vogel, on Trezz’s defense this season. “He’s working really hard. He’s giving great effort in the schemes that we’re putting in, which are complex… We’re working with him on those, but I feel like he’s doing a great job picking things up.”
Harrison Faigen: Frank didn’t want to make too much of LeBron’s D the last 2 games, because he thinks he’s been great all year. “The last two opponents we’ve had a lot more double teams, which activates our back side, so I think it’s a combination of the scheme that we’re in, plus his mindset.”