Nate Loenser

Bulls’ Donovan Overhauling Coaching Staff

Bulls head coach Billy Donovan has informed multiple assistant coaches still under contract with the team that they won’t be part of his staff for the 2020/21 season, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

Roy Rogers, Dean Cooper, and Nate Loenser won’t be returning to to the club after working on Jim Boylen‘s staff last season, Johnson reports. Karen Stack Umlauf has also been let go, per an official announcement from the Bulls.

“I appreciate the time that I was able to spend with Dean, Nate, Roy and Karen. I really want to thank all of them for their service and commitment to the Chicago Bulls,” Donovan said in a statement. “This is the tough side to our business, and I wish all of them the best moving forward.”

Rogers had only completed one season on his three-year deal and Loenser had his team option for 2020/21 exercised in the spring, but Bulls ownership continues to give the team’s new decision-makers the green light to make changes even if they’ll cost the organization some money, per Johnson.

It’s possible the Bulls will make additional changes to their coaching staff, but for now it sounds as if Chris Fleming is sticking around. Fleming worked with new Bulls executive VP of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas in Denver during the 2015/16 season, and Johnson has previously reported that there’s a “trust factor” between the two men.

It remains to be seen who will join Donovan’s revamped staff in Chicago, but Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times speculates that Maurice Cheeks could be a candidate. Cheeks is a Chicago native and has been an assistant under Donovan for the last five years in Oklahoma City.

Bulls Notes: Boylen, Loenser, Tanaka, Draft

Although the Bulls‘ ownership group and former executive VP of basketball operations John Paxson have voiced their support for head coach Jim Boylen, they’ve also made it clear to the newly-hired executives in the front office that they’ll allow Boylen’s dismissal if Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley want to go in that direction, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times.

Cowley, who wrote earlier this month that Karnisovas and Eversley are likely leaning toward making a coaching change, notes that the Bulls will have a clearer sense of a timeline for that decision once the NBA makes an announcement on the fate of the 2019/20 season. If the team doesn’t resume play, the front office could be in position to make a call on Boylen sooner rather than later.

Here’s more on the Bulls:

  • While Boylen’s fate remains up in the air, the Bulls have exercised their 2020/21 option on assistant coach Nate Loenser, reports K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. As Johnson explains, Loenser – whose contract is the only one that required an immediate decision – is well-respected by players and has established a strong reputation for player development.
  • The Bulls aren’t retaining longtime trainer Jeff Tanaka, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Tanaka has been the club’s head trainer since 2014 and was an assistant trainer before that, dating back to 2008. With his contract up, Arturas Karnisovas and the new-look front office decided to go in another direction and intend to bring in someone of their own choosing, per Cowley.
  • The Bulls should be well-prepared for the 2020 draft, according to Cowley, who points out that newly-hired executives Karnisovas, Marc Eversley, Pat Connelly, and J.J. Polk will bring with them intel from three separate franchises. Throw in the research the Bulls’ existing scouts have done and there should be no shortage of information on this year’s prospects as the team sets its draft board.

And-Ones: Pressey, Cavs, Rose, Bulls

The Warriors have acquired the D-League rights to training camp invitee Phil Pressey via a trade with the Jazz’s D-League affiliate, according to a press release from the Salt Lake City Stars. The Santa Cruz Warriors secured the returning player rights of Pressey in exchange for the same rights to point guard Aaron Craft and a 2017 D-League second-round pick. Pressey, a 25-year-old point guard, signed what is believed to be a non-guaranteed, one-year contract with Golden State, which already has 16 other players under contract. By acquiring his D-League rights, the Warriors can not only ship him to their affiliate if he makes the 15-man roster but also keep him in the organization even if he doesn’t secure a spot.

In other news around the league:
  • The Cavs are renegotiating the contract of assistant coach Larry Drew, Joe Vardon of reports. The former head coach of the Hawks and Bucks will be head coach Tyronn Lue’s chief assistant and associate head coach this season. Drew, who is entering his third season with Cleveland, will get a raise but the two sides are still working out the details, Vardon adds.
  • Attorneys for the woman who has accused Knicks point guard Derrick Rose of sexual assault are demanding an NBA investigation into the 2013 incident, Julia Marsh of the New York Post relays. Waukeen McCoy, one of those lawyers, suggested that the league and team should enforce the morality clause in Rose’s contract and suspend him, Marsh adds. A lawsuit filed in California is scheduled for trial on October 4.
  • Nate Loenser has been the named the head coach of the Bulls’ new D-League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls, the team announced via press release. Loenser was the Chicago Bulls’ video coordinator last season. He’s also coached at Southern Mississippi and Iowa State. Bulls assistant GM Brian Hagen will also serve as Windy City’s GM.
  • Guard Langston Galloway signed a two-year, $10MM contract with the Pelicans but he still doesn’t think he’s established himself in the league, as he told Jake Rauchbach of Basketball Insiders in an exclusive interview. “I’ve got a lot to prove,” Galloway told Rauchbach. “I want to be one of those top guys one day and I gotta go out and prove it to each of the guys that I play against every night. Like, ‘Hey, I am trying to be at that level.’ That’s what I gotta go out there and do.”