Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said the team benefited from a five- to 10-minute talk by executive vice president John Paxson, according to Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com. Several players said Paxson’s address helped them get focused again after a difficult week that included a three-game losing streak and an incident where Jimmy Butler publicly questioned Hoiberg’s coaching style. “Look, John was a tough, tough guy,” Hoiberg said. “… Our guys really respect John and it was good that he sat in there and again that’s what we did a lot in those three days we had off. It wasn’t just time on the practice floor, but we spent time in the film room just talking things out and John was a big part of that.”
There’s more news tonight out of Chicago:
- Paxson would have preferred that Butler address the coaching situation privately, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. In a Friday morning interview on radio station WSCR-670 AM in Chicago, Paxson said the team needs to get beyond any lingering dispute between the player and coach. “My feeling is that as long as it’s been addressed, which it was, and the parties are there to move on, it will be OK,” Paxson said. “When you lose and our schedule not getting any easier, it’s very easy for anyone to point fingers. But the reality is what you have to do and what you have to understand is if you’re not in this thing together, then you might as well not be in at all.”
- Despite hitting some bumps in his first NBA coaching job, Hoiberg has a big supporter in Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, Friedell writes in another post. Their relationship began when Hoiberg played for the Pacers in the late 1990s and Carlisle worked as an assistant under Larry Bird. “Fred’s been in the NBA if you count his playing years, his management years … 15, 16, 17 years,” Carlisle said. “… I wouldn’t paint this [picture] that he’s some newcomer. … The job I see him doing [with the Bulls] is a very strong one. I wouldn’t believe the hype.”
- Last week’s incident with Butler indicates a leadership void in the Bulls’ locker room, contends Steve Aschburner of NBA.com. The columnist says Butler’s attempt at leadership seemed “forced or rushed,” but injuries and declining production have pushed Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah out of leadership positions, while Pau Gasol is “too cerebral and mature” and may opt out of his contract this coming summer.