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.
Facing off against the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls was apparently a battle that took place both on and off the basketball court.
In a piece by ESPN’s David Fleming this week, former Utah Jazz forward Antoine Carr shared a hilarious story about some of the distractions that he faced whenever he would play in Chicago, including during the NBA Finals.
“One thing I did enjoy about playing the Bulls that was different was the city of Chicago was always trying to do something too,” said Carr. “You’d be in your hotel room the night before a Finals game in Chicago and all of a sudden a Playboy model would show up at your door with a cake. That happened to me more than once.
“They show up in a trench coat, and when they get to present you with your cake, the coat comes off and it’s “Welcome to Chicago!” he went on. “But if you’re a young man and all you can think of the night before the Finals is a beautiful girl now, that’s going to throw you all the way off. It didn’t work on me. It was good cake, though.”
Carr, who was in his mid-30s when the Jazz played in the Bulls in the 1997 and 1998 Finals, only got limited playing time in both series, so it is hard to tell if the strategy had any effect. Chicago won five of the six Finals games that they hosted over the two years though, so they obviously did something right.
Granted, the Bulls faced some hotel room ills of their own when they played in Utah those years, so the playing field was probably pretty even in that regard.
H/T NBA Reddit
The Chicago Bulls won six NBA championships in eight years (the middle two years were without Michael Jordan), which stands as one of the most incredible runs in sports history. But they almost didn’t even get that sixth championship.
Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf shared during “The Last Dance” documentary about the final season of the Bulls’ dynasty that the team almost began a rebuilding process after winning their fifth championship in the 1995-1996 season.
“After the fifth championship, which was ’96-’97, we were looking at this team and realizing other than Michael (Jordan), the rest of the guys were probably at the end of their high productive years. We had to decide whether we keep the team together or not. And we realized maybe this was the time to do a rebuild and not try to win a sixth championship,” Reinsdorf said in the documentary.
The team ended up winning the championship, beating the Utah Jazz in six games for their sixth title. But then they broke up after that. Tim Floyd replaced Phil Jackson as head coach. Michael Jordan retired again. Scottie Pippen was traded. Dennis Rodman was released. The Bulls didn’t reach the playoffs again til seven seasons later, and Jordan never played for the team again.
Michael Finley has interviewed for the Chicago Bulls’ general manager job, according to a report.
The Bulls hired Arturas Karnisovas from Denver last week to head their front office. He has begun his search for a new general manager and interviewed the former Dallas Mavericks player, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.
The Bulls have a GM vacancy after Karnisovas fired longtime team general manager Gar Forman.
Finley, 47, had a 15-year playing career in the NBA and last played in 2010. He began working with his former team as an intern of sorts a few years later, and then was hired by the front office in 2015. Finley is currently a vice president of basketball operations.
The Chicago Bulls officially announced on Monday that they have hired a new vice president of basketball operations, and with that Gar Forman’s lengthy tenure with the team has come to an end.
Forman has been fired by the Bulls, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
We knew major changes were coming for Chicago’s front office when they began searching for a new head of basketball operations, but this gives us a better idea of the extent of the shakeup.
Forman was named the GM of the Bulls in 2009, replacing John Paxson. Paxson had been the vice president of basketball operations for Chicago before Arturas Karnisovas was hired, and it remains to be seen if Paxson will remain with the team in another role. Paxson is reportedly willing to step down if the franchise would prefer that.
Forman and Paxson have been lumped together in recent years, with Bulls fans using the nickname “Gar-Pax” for them. The term has generally been used when discussing the duo’s inability to bring the team back to championship contention, so it’s no surprise the Bulls have decided to make significant changes.