Fred Hoiberg

Bulls Notes: Wade, Hoiberg, Forman, Dunn

Dwyane Wade hasn’t contacted the Bulls’ front office about his desire for a buyout and is hoping the team makes the first move, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Wade made his feelings clear that he doesn’t want to be part of a rebuilding project after Chicago traded Jimmy Butler to Minnesota in June. However, he is reluctant to give up much of the $23.8MM salary for the upcoming season that he opted into and apparently believes he can get a better deal if Bulls management takes the initiative on buyout talks.

A recent report said Wade hasn’t been in contact with anyone from the front office since the Butler deal and that he felt misled because he was given assurances that the Bulls would try to remain competitive before he opted in. At 35, Wade is by far the oldest and most expensive player on Chicago’s roster and he clearly doesn’t fit the team’s youth movement. How far each side is willing to continue before buyout talks begin will be among the most interesting storylines of the new season.

Cowley shares more information out of Chicago:

  • Expectations will be different for coach Fred Hoiberg with the revamped roster, but he still has to show progress to keep his job. Hoiberg has been under fire from fans and the media since coming to Chicago two years ago and was publicly criticized by Butler early in his first season. Cowley calls it “sink-or-swim time” for Hoiberg, who has to turn a young roster into the type of team he envisioned when he was hired.
  • GM Gar Forman’s fate is probably tied to Hoiberg’s, Cowley adds. Forman, who made the decision to bring Hoiberg out of the college ranks, is already unpopular with Bulls’ fans, some of whom paid to put up a billboard in July calling for the firing of him and president of basketball operations John Paxson.
  • Kris Dunn, part of the package acquired in exchange for Butler, has an open path toward being the starting point guard. The fifth pick of the 2016 draft, Dunn had a disappointing rookie season in Minnesota, but the Bulls have no obvious successor to Rajon Rondo.
  • The Bulls are happy with what they have seen from first-round pick Lauri Markkanen during summer league and EuroBasket. The seventh overall selection will be “a key foundation piece” of the rebuild.
  • Robin Lopez is the team’s most valuable trade commodity and seems likely to be moved during the season. The 29-year-old center averaged 10.4 points and 6.4 rebounds in his first season with the Bulls after being acquired in a deal with the Knicks.

Northwest Notes: Butler, Hernangomez, Lillard

A comprehensive feature on Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler has shed some light on how the 30th overall draft pick has changed over the course of his ascent to stardom. Michael Pina of Vice Sports spent a day with the swingman, who describes himself as a difficult person to be around.

This season Butler has been reunited with former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, the man at the helm in Chicago when Butler evolved from a fringe roster player to a key rotation piece into a star. For the last two years, however, Butler played under a different coach.

I’m confrontational. I feed off of confrontation. It makes me go,” Butler said. “Not everybody’s like that. [Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg] is not that coach, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There are different coaching styles and people are gonna say—which is what they did say—’It’s gonna be Jimmy’s team or it’s gonna be Fred’s team.’ Two total opposite ends of the spectrum.

Be sure to check out the long-read for fresh perspective on the Timberwolves guard’s backstory and mentality heading forward.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division tonight:

Lowe’s Latest: Butler, Nuggets, Wolves, Ibaka

Before they accepted the Timberwolves‘ offer for Jimmy Butler, the Bulls canvassed the league in search of a more appealing offer, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN.com.

Lowe writes in his latest piece for ESPN that the Bulls spoke to the Suns about a package centered around Eric Bledsoe and the No. 4 overall pick, but the two sides never really got close. Chicago also had discussions with the Nuggets and Celtics, but Denver drew the line at including Jamal Murray in any potential deal, and Boston wouldn’t include the No. 3 pick, according to Lowe.

As Lowe notes, teams like the Suns and Nuggets had to consider the fact that Butler may not have re-signed with them in free agency in 2019 if they acquired him. Although Butler’s contract would give teams an extra year of control over someone like Paul George, the star forward might still have ultimately been a rental if he didn’t love where he ended up. That cooled the market somewhat, as the Bulls explored potential trade scenarios.

Here’s more from Lowe’s latest piece:

  • The Bulls were never entirely comfortable with the idea of Butler as their foundational player, says Lowe. A source tells ESPN that Butler’s bristling at Fred Hoiberg‘s instructions made some people on the team uncomfortable. Lowe suggests that Hoiberg’s calm personality wasn’t a good match for Butler, who requires a coach more like Tom Thibodeau.
  • At one point, the Timberwolves were intrigued by the possibility of pursuing Serge Ibaka in free agency, but their interest “has faded a bit,” according to Lowe, who adds that most teams expect Ibaka to re-sign with the Raptors.
  • The Lakers were dangling a future unprotected first-round pick to teams with cap room recently in an effort to move the Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng contracts, per Lowe. The earliest first-round pick the Lakers could trade at this point is 2020’s selection, so it’s understandable that D’Angelo Russell appealed more to the Nets than a pick that far down the road.

Bulls Becoming More Open To Jimmy Butler Trade

8:32pm: Butler’s preference to remain in Chicago has been made clear to the Bulls’ front office in addition to the Cavs, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today adds (via Twitter) that a trade between Chicago and Cleveland appears unlikely at this point. Still, Johnson tweets that the Bulls remain active in Butler talks.

7:28pm: The Cavaliers have been notified that Butler would like to stay with the Bulls and would be reluctant to commit to a long-term future in Cleveland, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com. If the Cavs are able to complete a deal for Butler, I imagine they’d do so without a long-term commitment from the forward, but his desire to remain in Chicago is still a factor they’ll have to consider.

4:33pm: Just one day after Bulls sources suggested that the team likely wouldn’t move Jimmy Butler this week, the odds of a trade appear to be increasing. The Bulls have typically just been willing to listen on Butler inquiries to gauge his value, but they’re now making outgoing calls to teams about the star forward, according to Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com.

According to Goodwill, the Celtics and Cavaliers are the frontrunners to land Butler if a deal gets done this week. The Suns have been “doing due diligence,” league sources tell Goodwill. The Nuggets were somewhat involved on Butler at the trade deadline, per CSN’s report, though it’s not clear if they’re jumping into the fray this time around. The Timberwolves were also mentioned on Monday as a possible trade partner for Chicago.

Butler has publicly expressed a desire to remain in Chicago, but Goodwill writes that the relationship between the All-NBA forward and head coach Fred Hoiberg hasn’t been “fruitful,” which is one reason the Bulls appear to be legitimately considering moving Butler. Goodwill also suggests that the club may be reluctant to pay Butler a super-max Designated Veteran Extension if he becomes eligible for one next summer.

According to Goodwill, the Bulls were “rebuffed” on an offer to the Celtics for the No. 3 overall pick, straight up. I would expect Chicago to be seeking more than just that one pick in return for Butler, so if that’s true, it’s a surprise. Goodwill adds that bringing the Cavs to the negotiating table figures to increase the quality of the offers for Butler.

An earlier report indicated that the Cavs were attempting earlier this week to work out a three-team Butler trade that would see a third team receive Kevin Love, with a high lottery pick going from that club to the Bulls.

Although the Suns were believed to be the third team in that scenario, and John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 confirms (via Twitter) that the Cavs had interest in Phoenix’s No. 4 pick, Gambadoro says those discussions didn’t involve Love (Twitter link). While that may be true, it would be virtually impossible for the Cavs to pry away a top-five pick for the Bulls without using Love, so I have to think he’d be involved somehow.

Those Butler discussions with the Cavs took place before GM David Griffin departed from the franchise. However, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, Griffin left behind the framework for possible deals involving Butler or Paul George, so owner Dan Gilbert and assistant GM Koby Altman – essentially the Cavs’ acting GM – could continue to work on those deals.

Fred Hoiberg Has “No Interest” In Ohio State Job

Fred Hoiberg was linked to the recently vacated Ohio State heading coach job, but sources tell Vincent Goodwill of Comcast Sportsnet that the coach has “no interest” in the position.

Hoiberg previously spent five seasons as the head coach at Iowa State and it would seem natural to connect the dots between him and a major opening, such as the one at Ohio State. However, it appears he wants to remain with the Bulls, a franchise with which he’s under contract for the next three seasons.

Bulls executive John Paxson said that the team wants Hoiberg back during an end-of-season press conference. Hoiberg wasn’t able to take Chicago past the first-round of this year’s playoffs, but Paxson believes that has more to do with a lack of shooting than it does with the coach.

Fred Hoiberg Emerging As Serious Candidate For Ohio State Job

Ohio State recently let go longtime coach Thad Matta and Gary Parrish of CBS Sports tweets that Fred Hoiberg is emerging as a serious candidate for the opening.

Hoiberg joined the Bulls’ sideline on a five-year deal during the 2015 offseason and the results have varied. He owns a record of 83-81 with the club, making the playoffs for the first time during this past season.

Earlier in the season, it appeared Hoiberg was losing the team. He clashed with Rajon Rondo, and other veterans, such as Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade, were reportedly tuning him out. However, after Chicago lost the final four games of its series with Boston, the veterans appeared to support their coach with Wade publicly standing up for his coach.

I definitely believe [Hoiberg] got better throughout this year,” Wade said in response to fans calling for Hoiberg to be fired. “And I think you have more a grasp moving forward with what he wants to do with this team. You have to give people a chance.’’

Hoiberg coached in the college ranks from 2010 until 2015 at Iowa State University. He compiled a record of 115-56 during his time at the program.

Bulls Notes: Rondo, Hoiberg, Butler, Mirotic

Bulls executives John Paxson and Gar Forman spoke to the media in a Wednesday press conference that lasted the better part of an hour. Although Paxson and Forman didn’t exactly lay out their offseason blueprint, several of their answers provided hints about the Bulls’ next steps.

For one, Paxson praised Rajon Rondo and said there’s a “really good chance” that the team will retain the veteran point guard for next season, per Nick Friedell of ESPN.com (Twitter link). As we outlined this morning in our Offseason Cap Digest for the Bulls, Rondo’s $13.397MM salary is currently only partially guaranteed for $3MM, so Chicago could save more than $10MM by cutting him — but likely won’t.

Here are more items of note from today’s presser, with all links via Friedell unless otherwise indicated:

  • Paxson reiterated today that Fred Hoiberg will return as the Bulls’ head coach next season (Twitter link).
  • Although Paxson acknowledged that Jimmy Butler doesn’t necessarily fit into Chicago’s desire to play with pace, he said the Bulls “know his value”and that Butler is “far and away our best player” (Twitter links via K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune and Friedell).
  • The Bulls will sit down with Butler and Dwyane Wade – who has a player option – within the next few weeks to discuss their respective futures (Twitter links).
  • Both Paxson and Forman spoke about the importance of establishing more consistent roles for players next season, particularly for the Bulls’ young guys (Twitter links).
  • The Bulls value Nikola Mirotic, according to Forman, who made it clear that there’s mutual interest between the two sides in getting a new deal done for the RFA-to-be (Twitter links).
  • Asked about coaching staff changes, Paxson said the team is “in the process of looking at everything.” With Hoiberg a lock to return, any changes made would be to the assistant coaches (Twitter links via Johnson).
  • The Bulls want to add shooting and athleticism this summer, according to Paxson (Twitter link).
  • The Bulls continue to stress the idea of maintaining flexibility for 2018 and beyond. Paxson suggested that it would be “difficult” to make significant changes to the roster this summer, while Forman talked about the advantage of saving cap room rather than committing to multiple long-term deals right away (Twitter links via Friedell and Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com).

John Paxson’s Role May Expand In Chicago

The Bulls are considering front office changes this offseason, which may include more day-to-day control of the team for vice president John Paxson, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com.

That ties into a story from K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune, who suggests that “subtle” front office changes are in the works. Organizational meetings are planned for this week, and management may hold a press conference to announce the moves as soon as tomorrow.

Johnson notes that the Tribune reported in February that Paxson and GM Gar Forman were safe in their jobs even if the Bulls missed the playoffs. Chicago rallied to claim the eighth seed, then took a 2-0 lead over the Celtics before being eliminated in six games.
Forman has promised that coach Fred Hoiberg will return in the fall to begin his third season, even though he has become the target of fan wrath. The crowd at Game 6 was loudly chanting “Fire Hoiberg” as the final minutes ticked away.

Behind the scenes, the Reinsdorf family still has faith in its management team, but team president Michael Reinsdorf is an advocate for more debate on key decisions. Paxson’s brother, Jim, a former GM of the Cavaliers, is someone who could be given a stronger voice in the organization.

Bulls Notes: Wade, Hoiberg, Rondo, Portis

Dwyane Wade doesn’t feel the need to “ring-chase” as he considers his options for next season, relays Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. Wade has a $23.8MM player option and is in no hurry to make a decision. He plans to take a vacation, then meet with GM Gar Forman and VP of basketball operations John Paxson to discuss their plans for the team’s future. Wade’s first season in Chicago after 13 in Miami didn’t turn out the way he hoped, with the Bulls struggling to make the playoffs, then getting dispatched in the first round. Still, he likes being in Chicago and stands by the choice he made last summer. “If I could say anything, one word I could pull out, it’s just ‘different,’ as I expected to be different,” Wade explained. “Only playing in one organization my whole career [prior to this season]. The biggest thing, I came here and I was embraced, not only by the city. Up top, I was embraced by the coaches, the players, and it was some good moments and bad moments. Just like every season. But I don’t regret my decision at all.”

There’s more today out of Chicago:

  • If Wade does return, he wants Fred Hoiberg to be with him, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Wade defended his coach today and criticized the fans who chanted “Fire Hoiberg” during Friday’s Game 6 loss. “I definitely don’t agree with the chants that were going on in the arena,’’ Wade said. “I definitely believe [Hoiberg] got better throughout this year. And I think you have more a grasp moving forward with what he wants to do with this team. You have to give people a chance.’’
  • Rajon Rondo missed his exit interview today, but it’s not a Kristaps Porzingis situation where he’s protesting the state of the team, Friedell tweets. Rondo had a family commitment and plans to reschedule the interview for next week. His future in Chicago remains uncertain as the Bulls decide whether to pick up his $13.397MM option for next season. Several young players expressed their admiration of Rondo in today’s exit interviews (Twitter link).
  • Second-year power forward Bobby Portis was playing with a severely burned foot since March 4th, Friedell reveals in a separate story. The burn was caused by a heat pack that Portis used before a game, and he kept it secret so it wouldn’t threaten his spot in the rotation. “I had a third-degree burn on my foot,” Portis said. “On top of my foot. Every time I tied my shoe up, it was right there on the spot. After the game, it would be bloody and nasty.”
  • Paul Zipser plans to play for the Bulls’ summer league team, but isn’t sure if he will join the German National Team after that, Friedell tweets.

Central Notes: Rondo, Hoiberg, George, Bucks

Rajon Rondo faces an uncertain future with the Bulls, but he got an endorsement from coach Fred Hoiberg after tonight’s season-ending loss, tweets Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago. “I love Rondo,” Hoiberg told reporters. “I love the kid. I Iove coaching him.” Rondo is set to make $13.397MM next season, but only $3MM of that is guaranteed through June 30th. The 31-year-old point guard had a rocky regular season, but was instrumental in the eighth-seeded Bulls taking a 2-0 lead over the Celtics before he got hurt and missed the final four games of the series.

There’s more tonight from the Central Division:

  • There were loud chants of “Fire Hoiberg” toward the end of tonight’s 22-point loss, but the second-year coach said he sympathizes with fans who are upset (Twitter link). “I understand the frustration,” Hoiberg said. “We got off to a 2-0 lead but couldn’t finish it off. I do understand.” He has three seasons left on the five-year, $25MM contract the Bulls gave him in 2015.
  • The results of next month’s draft lottery could impact a potential Paul George trade, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. The Celtics, who enter the lottery with the best odds, and the Lakers, who are third, are the two teams most often mentioned as trading partners for George. Either could improve their bargaining positions by landing a top-two pick and giving the Pacers a shot at Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball. With Jeff Teague entering free agency, Indiana might be tempted to unload George in exchange for its point guard of the future. Pincus notes that the Celtics could trade for George and still be able to make a max offer in free agency (Twitter link).
  • The Bucks need another star but may not have the resources to add one, writes Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Milwaukee will be over the cap if it re-signs Greg Monroe or Tony Snell, and would have less than $20MM to offer if both players leave, not enough to attract a max-level free agent. O’Connor believes keeping Snell should be a priority. In the draft, the Bucks have all their future first-rounders, but will pick 17th this year and won’t move any higher as long as they keep making the playoffs.
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