Fred Hoiberg Rumors
The memories that flash first are happy. Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg remembers Chicago for the day his twin sons were born, for the two seasons he spent establishing himself as an NBA rotation player on the Bulls, and for the playoff series he almost won as Chicago’s coach in 2017. But as the Huskers travel to Northwestern, located 14 miles north of Hoiberg’s old life, on Tuesday, the more painful recollections return. The mounting losses, the speculation surrounding his job, and the stress he shouldered in Chicago are resurfacing in Lincoln four years later.
In Chicago, Hoiberg said Monday that the Bulls “led the league in injuries” during his first season. One year later, Rajon Rondo broke his hand with the Bulls leading the Boston Celtics 2-1 in a first-round playoff series. And one year after that, the Bulls pivoted to a rebuild. Hoiberg’s Bulls tenure turned ugly the following season, when he began questioning his players’ motivation. He called Chicago’s effort “embarrassing” after a 105-89 loss to a shorthanded Celtics team in March 2018. And he told the Chicago Tribune that his makeshift lineups were “not an excuse to not bust your ass” after a 135-106 loss to the Charlotte Hornets seven months later.
Fred Hoiberg might have some, well, let’s call them unresolved issues with NBA Draft Combine measurements. “I got kind of screwed with mine,” he says. Here’s the story: At the 1995 combine, Hoiberg and his fellow hopefuls were separated into groups, rotating among four stations. One was for measurements. At Hoiberg’s station, there was a cord under the carpet. He noticed it and stood on it. “It was definitely to inflate my height,” he said, laughing. “I thought it was smart.” And it totally worked: Hoiberg measured 6 feet 5 3/4 without shoes. “I’m absolutely not that size,” he said. “This was a wise business decision.”
KC Johnson: Arturas Karnisovas has picked up 2020-21 option on assistant coach Nate Loenser’s contract, per sources. Loenser, originally hired in 2015 by Fred Hoiberg as a video coordinator, is widely respected by players and also served as head coach of Windy City Bulls in 2016-17.
This would be in-line with a Sun-Times report back in November, in which the newspaper wrote that general manager Gar Forman’s job security was taking on water, with the organization’s senior advisor Doug Collins the loudest voice in a needed change. Collins has never been a big fan of Foreman’s, starting with questioning Forman for the hiring of Fred Hoiberg.
Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of Jim Boylen succeeding Fred Hoiberg as Bulls coach. “I don’t know if it feels like a year. It’s been such an intensive, 58-game game situation [last season] and then the busy summer. The season starts and you’re kind of in the thick of it,” Boylen said. “All I can say is I’m really enjoying it. I like this group of guys. I like the way we work. I like the way we practice. And I just really feel comfortable coaching these guys.”
Hoiberg, who accepted a seven-year, $25 million deal March 31, insisted it didn’t feel strange to stop by the combine. He even said he has had sporadic contact with Bulls executive vice president John Paxson, who fired him as coach Dec. 1. In fact, the two were seen chatting at the combine Thursday.