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Bulls grant Hornets permission to interview assistant coach Boylen

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Bye-bye Boylen?

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Rumor has turned into reality.

After rumblings that Chicago Bulls associate head coach Jim Boylen may garner interest in head coaching searches this spring and summer, Chicago Tribune reporter K.C. Johnson cited sources today that say the team has granted Boylen permission to interview with the Charlotte Hornets.

The franchise canned head coach Steve Clifford after five years at the helm ending with a 36-46 season that saw Charlotte miss the playoffs for the second straight season. The Hornets have also contacted former Miami Heat assistant and Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale, former NBA player Jerry Stackhouse, and San Antonio Spurs assistant Ime Udoka among a few others for the position.

Boylen has been coaching at the NCAA or NBA level since 1987. The Bulls hired him as associate head coach in 2015. A purported defensive specialist, he’s architected a system that has generated mixed results. In terms of defensive rating, the Bulls finished 24th in the NBA last season after finishing 14th and 15th respectively the last two seasons.

Outside of budding from the highly-respected San Antonio Spurs assistant coaching tree, Johnson pointed out another reason why the Hornets may have interest in the 53 year old.

Boylen, 53, served on Rudy Tomjanovich’s staff in Houston when the Rockets won back-to-back NBA titles in the mid-90s. New Hornets president and general manager Mitch Kupchak is close with Tomjanovich, with whom he worked at the Lakers.

It’s not a huge deal if the Bulls lose Boylen, but at least it’s something newsworthy to keep an eye on with no playoffs in Chicago this year.