Billy Donovan was not out of a job for long.
Donovan has agreed to become the head coach of the Chicago Bulls, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday.
Donovan was let go by the Oklahoma City Thunder after the team was eliminated from the NBA playoffs. The Thunder reportedly are preparing to go into a rebuild and decided not to renew Donovan’s contract.
The Bulls were deciding on the future of Jim Boylen and fired him last month, creating a vacancy. They now have made a huge upgrade with the addition of Donovan.
Donovan, 55, won two national championships as a head coach in college at Florida before jumping to the pros. His teams made the playoffs all five years he was the coach of the Thunder, though they lost in the first round the last four years.
Jim Boylen will not be returning as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls next season.
The Bulls issued a statement on Friday announcing that they have fired Boylen. New executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas said the decision was “very difficult” and thanked Boylen for his service.
“After doing a comprehensive evaluation and giving the process the time it deserved, I ultimately decided that a fresh approach and evolution in leadership was necessary,” Karnisovas said.
Boylen took over as head coach of the Bulls in Dec. 2018 when Fred Hoiberg was fired. He went 39-84 with the team in parts of two seasons, and recent reports indicated the Bulls were likely to keep him around.
The dismissal is hardly shocking, however. Boylen’s old-school style did not sit well with many Chicago players, and one player recently had some things to say about the coach that were not very flattering. Players were also reportedly unhappy with Boylen’s offense in addition to his coaching methods.
Now that Boylen has been fired, Philadelphia 76ers assistant Ime Udoka will be one of the early names to watch for Chicago’s head coaching vacancy.
Chicago Bulls coach Jim Boylen’s future looked grim a few months ago, but there is growing reason to believe he’s going to keep his job after all.
According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, there is “strong growning momentum” that Boylen will be retained as the Bulls’ head coach. The primary reason is said to be the finances of chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.
Reinsdorf, who also owns the White Sox and the United Center, estimated that his losses due to the pandemic will be in the nine figure range. In addition, uncertainty about the 2020-21 NBA season — and the fact that some sort of separate camp for the Bulls and the seven other teams not invited to the Orlando bubble — makes keeping Boylen a safer option at this point.
Boylen’s salary is also a factor. His $1.6 million salary makes him one of the league’s lowest-paid head coaches, which is advantageous given Reinsdorf’s financial concerns.
It had been widely speculated that new basketball operations vice president Arturas Karnisovas would want to bring in his own coach. That was especially true given there have been complaints from players about Boylen’s offense, and Boylen does not appear to be well-liked by his team. Ultimately, it appears that won’t matter, and Boylen and his players will have to make it work for another year.
Jim Boylen has had a difficult time connecting with Chicago Bulls players since he took over as head coach last season. Some comments rookie Daniel Gafford made about Boylen this week are a reminder of that.
Gafford was asked during a Twitch stream on Monday if he likes Boylen. The former Arkansas star didn’t exactly give his coach a ringing endorsement, saying Boylen has some things to work on as both a person and coach.
Those remarks are likely on par with how Bulls veterans feel about Boylen.
Boylen has gone 39-84 as Chicago’s head coach in parts of two seasons. The Bulls were 22-43 at the time the season was postponed and did not make the cut for the resumed season in Orlando. While the team recently brought in Arturas Karnisovas to overhaul the front office and organization, there have been indications that Boylen is going to keep his job for now.
Boylen’s old-school approach has resulted in several key players reportedly wanting him fired, but the Bulls may give him another shot to prove himself next season.
When the Chicago Bulls brought in Arturas Karnisovas to overhaul the team’s front office and organization, there was strong speculation that head coach Jim Boylen would be let go. We’re now towards the end of July, and Boylen remains the team’s head coach, which suggests he may not be going anywhere.
NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson wrote an article on the subject that has some good in-depth information. Bulls’ ownership was said to back Boylen remaining, and that may continue to be the case.
Johnson laid out several current circumstances that point to the organization keeping Boylen. The lack of business revenue, lack of formal team activities, and all the uncertainty in the current situation due to coronavirus makes it potentially a bad time to make a coaching switch.
On top of all the reasons that makes a coaching change difficult, Boylen has been active with player development strategies, according to Johnson, suggesting his more involved with the team.
The whole article is worth your time.
Chicago was 22-43 at the time of the NBA shutdown and did not make the cut for the restart in Orlando. Boylen was promoted to head coach in Dec. 2018 when Fred Hoiberg was let go. He has gone 39-84 as head coach in parts of two seasons. Boylen keeping the job for now might come as a disappointment to some of the team’s players.
“NBA Jam” was a defining video game for many of our childhoods, but its creator is making a revelation that you may not have known about the game.
In an interview this week with Ars Technica, Mark Turmell, the lead designer and programmer of “NBA Jam,” admitted to installing a code in the game such that the Chicago Bulls could never make a last-second shot against the Detroit Pistons. Turmell is a native of Michigan and a fan of the Pistons.
“Making this game in Chicago during the height of the Michael Jordan era, there was a big rivalry between the Pistons and the Bulls,” said Turmell, per Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. “But the one way I could get back at the Bulls once they got over the hump was to affect their skills against the Pistons in NBA Jam. And so I put in special code that if the Bulls were taking last-second shots against the Pistons, they would miss those shots. And so, if you’re ever playing the game, make sure you pick the Pistons over the Bulls.”
“NBA Jam” was first released in 1993 and became a global sensation, such that it is still regarded as a classic today. While Turmell mentions that it was made at the peak of the Michael Jordan era, Jordan’s likeness did not actually appear in the game, as he chose to opt out of the NBPA’s licensing agreement.
As for the rivalry between the Bulls and the Pistons, it found its way back into the headlines recently, and Turmell’s revelation adds yet another layer to it.
Otto Porter’s Chicago Bulls career may be coming to an end before too long.
Porter signed a 4-year, $106.5 million contract with the Washington Wizards three years ago and was traded to the Bulls last year. He has a $28.49 million option for next season that he almost certainly will exercise. Beyond that, he probably will have to find a new team.
NBC Sports Chicago’s KC Johnson was answering fan mail for an article he published on Thursday. One of the questions was about Porter, and Johnson said he believes the Bulls will likely look for other answers at the wing position after Porter’s contract expires.
Porter dealt with a broken foot this season and has only played in 29 games for the Bulls since they acquired him from Washington. He’s a good player when healthy, but he hasn’t been healthy for Chicago.
Porter is averaging just 11.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game this season and shooting 38.7 percent on threes. His Bulls were among the eight teams that did not qualify for the resumed season in Orlando, leaving players upset.
Lauri Markkanen got the short end of the stick this season with the Chicago Bulls, but the team’s new management is committed to ensuring that it doesn’t happen again.
Speaking with reporters on Saturday, new Bulls executive Arturas Karnisovas expressed the team’s dedication to developing Markkanen.
“We’ve spoken to Lauri numerous times,” he said, per Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. “He’s been very patient, stayed in the market. His family is now with him. I spoke to him about last year. He’s eager to get back to the gym and improve. He was disappointed by the overall result [last season].
“Every player wants to win,” Karnisovas continued. “He’s about winning, as well. Our objective is to get the best version of Lauri next year. We agreed in conversations that this is our objective, and we’re going to try to do it. I’ll look forward to meeting him face-to-face. Before accountability, I have to have a personal relationship with him.”
Markkanen, 23, regressed noticeably this past season, averaging a lackluster 14.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. He struggled to find his footing in the team’s offense and also logged a career-low in shot attempts per game.
It sure did not sound like head coach Jim Boylen was particularly sensitive to Markkanen’s concerns about getting touches either, but at least the Bulls’ new front office seems to recognize that they need to do better by him.
The Chicago Bulls haven’t officially parted ways with current head coach Jim Boylen yet, but it certainly sounds like they will — and already have his replacement in mind.
According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Bulls are almost certain to fire Boylen. The current frontrunner to take over the job is Philadelphia 76ers assistant Ime Udoka. Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin is also seen as a possibility.
Both of these names have been linked to this job since April, but it certainly sounds like Udoka has a pretty significant edge if and when the Bulls start a full-blown coaching search.
Udoka is a former Gregg Popovich assistant who is just finishing his first year in Philadelphia. While he has no head coaching experience, he has been an assistant for quite some time and would fall under the Popovich coaching tree, which has a pretty solid pedigree.
The Chicago Bulls let go of longtime athletic trainer Jeff Tanaka this week, and an even bigger change may be coming next.
Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reported on Tuesday that Tanaka, who had been the Bulls’ head trainer since 2014, was informed by the organization that his contract would not be renewed. The decision was said to have been made by Chicago’s new head of basketball operations, Arturas Karnisovas.
Cowley also adds that, though ownership wants head coach Jim Boylen back, Karnisovas and new GM Marc Eversley have received enough of a mixed bag of feedback in detailed discussions with players and retained personnel. The feedback has been such that Karnisovas and Eversley are now leaning towards firing Boylen and starting with a new coach of their choosing, Cowley says.
Boylen, who has two years remaining on his deal, has been uninspiring since taking over for the fired Fred Hoiberg in 2018. His .317 winning percentage ranks as the worst in the league among coaches with their current teams.
Recent reports suggested that several top players on the Bulls were among those who wanted to see Boylen ousted. If the departure of Tanaka is any indication, an even greater house-cleaning may be underway in Chicago.