There are several NBA coaching searches still ongoing, and that also impacts the assistant coaching ranks. Perhaps with that in mind, the Bulls under newly-hired head coach Billy Donovan have reportedly made it known that they’re getting a new coaching staff:
Billy Donovan called multiple assistant coaches Monday morning and informed them they won’t serve on his first staff as Bulls coach, sources told NBC Sports Chicago.
Gone — at least — are Roy Rogers, Dean Cooper and Nate Loenser, sources confirmed. The Bulls just picked up an option for the 2020-21 season on Loenser’s contract, and Rogers had just finished the first of a three-year deal.
No word yet on the lead assistant, Chris Fleming. Though he and Bulls VP Arturas Karnisovas do have a prior working relationships and it’s not uncommon for a front-office selection on the bench (they don’t have to be outright spies), maybe Billy Donovan set as a condition of his coming aboard that he gets to pick the whole staff.
As for who’s gone, Dean Cooper was somewhat of a Jim Boylen ally, whereas Loenser an Iowa State crony. Rogers, like Fleming, was a preseason hire that was relatively expensive and independently acclaimed.
I don’t know the contract statuses of Donovan’s former staff in OKC. There is the possibility that an assistant there will be elevated to head coach. I’ve heard rumors that former head coach Maurice Cheeks would come with Donovan (he’s been there all of Donovan’s 5 seasons in OKC) but that may be entirely due to the anecdote that Cheeks hails from Chicago.
This is a sign though that the Bulls won’t be keeping along guys just because they’re under contract. Unless you’re in the scouting department like Jim Paxson and Brian Hagen, what are they still doing here?
UPDATE: a bit later the Bulls officially announced the news, annoyingly delivered via screenshots from beat reporters.
Additional in there is news that Karen Stack Umlauf was also let go. Umlauf has been with the Bulls since the dynasty days, moving from the back office to the coaching bench shortly after Boylen assumed the head role.