Bulls GM Gar Forman and executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson didn’t say as much in their press conference today, but the now-vacant Bulls coaching job is Fred Hoiberg‘s to lose, tweets K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. There has been some doubt about whether Hoiberg, coming off heart surgery last month, would head to the Bulls this year, but sources close to the Iowa State coach tell Randy Peterson of The Des Moines Register that they believe Hoiberg would accept if, or when, offered. Indeed, several close to Hoiberg are confident that he’s ready for the challenge of the NBA, Johnson hears (Twitter link). There’s much more on Hoiberg, the fired Tom Thibodeau, and the Bulls, as we relay:
- There’s no way Hoiberg would turn down the Bulls job, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press, and the coach was ready to jump to the NBA if the Warriors had offered him their job last season, according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com (on Twitter). However, the Warriors got the sense then that Hoiberg wasn’t quite ready, notes Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group (via Twitter). Still, Hoiberg last month told recruiting target Cheick Diallo that he couldn’t guarantee that he’d remain the school’s coach for 2015/16, sources told Travis Hines of the Ames Tribune (hat tip to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv).
- The Bulls have also fired assistant coach Andy Greer, Forman confirmed at the press conference today, as Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com notes (on Twitter).
- Forman also said that Bulls management got the sense they needed to make a change after meeting with players and other team personnel, Friedell tweets. That would jibe with Johnson’s report that some players conveyed in their exit meetings this month that they didn’t endorse Thibodeau’s return.
- The GM denied that the Bulls viewed Thibodeau as an asset they could use to extract compensation from other teams and confirmed that no team had called to ask permission to interview the coach this year, Friedell passes along (on Twitter).
- Paxson suggested that the Bulls would have kept Thibs if they’d won the title this year, advancing the idea that the team’s inability to get past the Cavs in the playoffs further lowered Thibodeau in the eyes of management. “We wouldn’t be sitting here if we won a championship,” Paxson said, according to Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com (Twitter link). “I feel like we had a real chance.”