Randy Brown

Bulls Notes: Hoiberg, Boylen, LaVine, R. Brown

Within an article on Fred Hoiberg‘s dismissal, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic passes along several interesting tidbits, reporting that multiple league sources said Hoiberg had lost the team, with Bulls players no longer believing in his system.

Those players were also “increasingly emboldened” to challenge the head coach’s authority, according to Mayberry, who cites specific instances where Jabari Parker and Antonio Blakeney undermined Hoiberg and weren’t reprimanded. Zach LaVine was also essentially given “carte blanche” by Hoiberg to get away with whatever he wanted, writes Mayberry.

One source told Mayberry that Jim Boylen had essentially been the Bulls’ de facto coach in the early part of this season, though a team source disputed that idea, explaining that Hoiberg “coached his desired portions and delegated other aspects to Boylen.” Still, that team source acknowledged that Boylen was “always the bad cop,” with Mayberry suggesting that the players respected and responded more to Boylen’s personality.

Here’s more out of Chicago:

  • While Boylen initially said that he expected the rest of the Bulls’ assistants to remain on the staff, the team announced in a press release on Tuesday that assistant coach Randy Brown had resigned. According to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter links), Boylen confirmed that Brown stepped down after being asked to take on a different role — Brown would have moved behind the bench and would have had fewer in-game duties, though his out-of-game responsibilities would have increased.
  • Boylen spoke this week about his goal to “build [the Bulls’] culture in a positive way” and explained why he believes he’s the right man for the club’s head coaching job, as Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago details. Meanwhile, Mark Schanowski of NBC Sports Chicago explored how the Bulls’ offense and rotations figured to change under Boylen.
  • In a pair of pieces for ESPN.com, Malika Andrews weighed in on why Hoiberg failed to have success in Chicago, and relayed some comments from Bulls players on the club’s coaching change. According to Andrews, Zach LaVine said on Tuesday that he sent a text message to Hoiberg thanking him for the hard work he put in with the Bulls. “At the end of the day, Fred is a great dude and you respect that,” LaVine said. “You know he did a good job here. He was under some circumstances that he can’t control.”

Bulls Notes: Felicio, Gasol, Forman, Hoiberg

The recent performance of Cristiano Felicio offers more proof that the Bulls should have traded Pau Gasol before February’s deadline, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. The Brazilian rookie center had 16 points and five rebounds in 23 minutes in Saturday’s win over Cleveland, and coach Fred Hoiberg chose to use Felicio over Gasol late in the game. Friedell gives executives Gar Forman and John Paxson credit for finding Felicio, but contends it was foolish to keep Gasol as part of the future when he will turn 36 this summer and can become a free agent. Gasol has already expressed an intention to opt out, which means the Bulls may get nothing in return when they could have picked up assets and created playing time for Felicio and rookie Bobby Portis.

There’s more news out of Chicago:

  • Forman worked hard to land Felicio, according to Sam Smith of Bulls.com. The Bulls GM had been watching him for several years as he moved to the United States and made a failed attempt to become eligible to play at Oregon. After Felicio returned to Brazil, Forman traveled there to scout him in several tournaments and signed him to the Bulls’ summer league team.
  • There’s plenty of blame to go around for a failed season, contends K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Chicago is almost certain to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2007/08, and Johnson says the responsibility goes from the front office to the coaching staff to a mismatched roster. Forman has carried the most influence behind the scenes, according to Johnson, as he was the leading proponent of hiring Hoiberg and of passing on a chance to deal Gasol to the Kings. Johnson notes that the front office is now less enamored with Gasol, as re-signing center Joakim Noah has become a higher offseason priority. Forman also angered the locker room by trading popular veteran point guard Kirk Hinrich to Atlanta to cut the Bulls’ luxury tax payment by more than $2.5MM.
  • Despite complaints about Hoiberg, the coaching staff is expected to remain mostly intact for next season, Johnson writes in the same story. Management believes the problem this year was that the core of the team was kept together too long. One possible change is assistant Randy Brown could return to a front-office position. Brown is liked by players, Johnson relays, and some view him as Forman’s direct link to the coaching staff.

Central Notes: Smith, Bulls, Johnson

The Cavaliers are still interested in re-signing unrestricted free agent J.R. Smith, who has not met with any other teams yet, Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report tweets. Smith is reportedly seeking a three-year commitment on his next deal after opting out of his contract for 2015/16. Cleveland has also explored dealing for Nets veteran Joe Johnson, who could fill the scoring void that would be left by Smith’s departure, but those talks are considered dead for the time being.

Here’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Bulls announced that Randy Brown and Charlie Henry have been hired as assistant coaches, and that Mike Wilhelm will be retained as an assistant coach on Fred Hoiberg’s coaching staff.
  • Some eyebrows were raised when the Pistons selected Stanley Johnson in this year’s NBA Draft with Justise Winslow still available, but the rookie is showing during Summer League play that he’s ready for the NBA, Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders writes. It’s Johnson’s toughness that has stood out, a trait that the forward believes led to Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy taking him, Brigham notes. “I don’t think Stan would draft somebody that’s soft,” Johnson said. “I’m not going to let anybody punk me on the court just because I’m 19 years old and new to this. You’re not going to disrespect me. I have no tolerance for that type of stuff. I’ve had some stupid fouls, and I’ve got to get better at that. But I’m going to get my respect, especially in the Summer League.
  • The Pistons will miss more than just Greg Monroe‘s on court production according to point guard Reggie Jackson, Terry Foster of The Detroit News relays. “He was like a big brother to me,” Jackson said. “And he was a role model also. We are going to miss what he brings to the table, and we wish him the best with the Bucks.” Monroe has agreed to a three-year, maximum salary deal with Milwaukee.