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Fred Hoiberg fired as Bulls head coach

in surprise move, lead assistant Jim Boylen to take over

Chicago Bulls v Boston Celtics Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

Breaking news this morning has Fred Hoiberg fired as head coach of the Chicago Bulls. The team has confirmed the reports, including that lead assistant Jim Boylen is taking over.

Fred not seeing through his 5-year guaranteed (?...still won’t believe Reinsdorf agreed to this) contract, gifted from his Ames pal Gar Forman and approved by part-time executive John Paxson after the worldwide coaching search of 2015, wasn’t unexpected.

The timing of this certainly is weird though. The Bulls have been terrible this season, starting off 5-19, though Hoiberg has been saddled with a ton of injuries, plus big free agent signing Jabari Parker not being injured. One of those major injured pieces, Lauri Markkanen, just returned on Saturday, coming off the bench (fireable offense?) for around 25 minutes.

Rumblings this weekend, first from Joe Cowley of the Sun-Times (begrudging credit...) and then KC Johnson of the Tribune, were more to the effect of: that the timeline to evaluate Hoiberg was starting now that Markkanen returned.

Apparently the Bulls front office had already seen enough.

Hoiberg’s hiring was a complete sham, a move telegraphed for a year while the paranoid incompetents in charge undermined their previous coach to get a more malleable subordinate in to ‘improve communication’. The kind of crony patronage that exemplifies this mom-and-pop (or pop-and-son) operation in one of the largest markets in the league.

At that time they thought they had a championship-quality roster, and with those expectations Hoiberg failed miserably in his first season. He then was subsequently handed more odd-fitting teams, including the Three-Alphas and this new rebuilding direction.

Through it all, Fred Hoiberg was allowed excuses to why his teams didn’t perform better, but he also never proved he could get a team to be better than the sum of their parts. He had difficulty coaching superstars, yet also didn’t do very well developing young players (though more time likely could’ve been afforded, there). The vaunted (likely always overhyped) system of ‘Hoiball’ was never really realized, questioning both the roster and Hoiberg’s ability to motivate. There’s less value in a system, on offense or defense, if the players can’t be coached to run it.

Jim Boylen has the reputation of more of a defensive taskmaster of a coach, and though the Bulls have had horrible defenses under him they actually were somehow better than expected.

It’s reasonable to think that both coaching was a problem, yet not the only problem. We’ll have to see how the front office spins this into more job security, their best trait.