The Chicago Bulls have fired coach Fred Hoiberg. Since signing him in 2015, his record in the NBA was 115-155. Vice-president of basketball operations John Paxson said (via ESPN):
After a thorough evaluation, I elected to make this move with the overall development of our team in mind. As a team, I believe it is imperative that we make unfaltering strides in the right direction and build the right habits to help put our players in the best position to evolve not only now, but into the future. I want to thank Fred for his dedication and efforts, as well as for his enduring commitment to our team.
There was a lot to endure. The Bulls hired him to start a new era of offense but never gave him the players to play his style. After clearing out the Thibs veterans the plan was to go young and fast, but then they signed Dwayne Wade. Finally, after trading Jimmy Butler, he could establish his system. Then Portis broke Mirotić’s jaw.
Unfortunately, Lauri MarKkanen got injured right before the start of the season, so the injuries continued. The timing of the decision is more surprising taking into account that MarkKanen will return soon. As the Bulls are in clear rebuilding mode, the win-loss record shouldn’t be the main category through which a coach is being assessed. A playoff chase seems like an illusion, and ever more so, not in the best long-term interest of the team.
The Bulls are in a perfect position to give their young core a lot of minutes on the court and get a high draft pick to bolster the team for next season. While they are one of the worse teams in the East, their cap situation gives them a lot of flexibility. The Bulls only have around $53 million committed in ’19/’20 (per Basketball-Reference), which would give them two max slots. If this decision is a signal they want to become better now, that could mean the front office wants to improve and make trade moves this season. As there are no superstars on the horizon, this would most likely be a bad decision.
Associated head coach Jim Boylen will take over at the helm. Is he a permanent solution remains to be seen.