ESPN’s Marc Stein just blessed us with a juicy Bulls rumor today, naming their head coach as one with the ‘toastiest seat on the NBA map’:
The Bulls’ largely disappointing play in December, on the heels of a non-playoff season, has put Hoiberg under earlier-than-expected pressure, according to league sources.
Just to be clear: Hoiberg isn’t exactly alone in the crosshairs in Chicago. Thanks to a succession of underwhelming first-round draft picks and a roster construction that has been questioned from the moment it materialized over the summer, fan frustration with the front-office tag team of John Paxson and Gar Forman has never been more tangible...Yet sources told ESPN.com this week that the Bulls have been increasingly assessing the coaching fit as well
As Stein outlines later, the Bulls have had 2 wins in a row...but both were pretty awful and could’ve easily gone the other way.
And of course there’s the ‘significant’ money remaining on Hoiberg’s 5 year, $25m deal. I’d still be totally shocked if all that money was guaranteed (why would Reinsdorf abandon his strategy not paying coaches for this dude?) but I’ve yet to see it reported otherwise. You’d assume that it’d be associate Jim Boylen taking over if Hoiberg were shown the door (with a security escort?), as he’s the highest-ranking assistant and not just a front-office stooge (though maybe that hurts his chances?).
As for whether it’s fair to fire Hoiberg. Eh, why not. While undoubtedly given flawed rosters, he hasn’t proven to be good at coaching. Even in wins it’s not clear he knows how and why they got there, and after losses he’s openly confused.
If this happens, Gar Forman HAS to go too, as a result of firing Thibs to hand-pick his Iowa pal. Paxson too, but I’m not certain he actually works much. Maybe there’s something to Pax distancing himself from basketball decisions last week. Or both of them are just here forever, which I wouldn’t put past this Org.