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What Billy Donovan said on his first day as Bulls head coach

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nothing too much, but didn’t step in it either

NBA: Playoffs-Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Wow, a Chicago Bulls press conference where the coach wasn’t a punchline.

Such was Thursday’s virtual introduction to newly minted head coach Billy Donovan. It wasn’t the most interesting, but being merely professional and lucid is a step up.

Some news broke during the presser where it was reported that Donovan’s contract is a hefty $24 million across four years. So he will be held to a higher standard of ‘not Boylen’, but definitely ‘won’ this press availability.

According to Donovan, he and new Bulls executive Arturas Karnisovas didn’t really know each other prior to the last couple of months. In fact, Karnisovas said he didn’t expect Donovan to be available while Donovan admitted he really didn’t know much about the Bulls and Chicago’s courtship of him came out of left field. Donovan also saying that the Bulls brass did a damn good job of laying out a vision for what the team could become that was too good for him to pass up.

Fast forward a bit, and both men are calling what they have now the beginning of a partnership based on good communication and trust , this from a 20-minute sitdown with NBC Sports Chicago:

“One of the things that really hit me hard when I was sitting there was Artūras said, ‘I’m not looking for a coach. I’m not looking for a manager of players. I want a partner. I want to work really, really closely with somebody where we can both make each other better. I want to be together and build a program. I want you to be a part of helping us in draft and free agency.’ All of it was about a partnership,”

In the press conference today, Donovan dished out praise for the current players on the Bulls roster. Known for his player development prowess, Donovan is now tasked with taking the key players on this young roster to the next level. Donovan added that there is optimism earned from their existing asset base in picks and cap space, and intimated that something has held back the existing talent on the roster:

Donovan also went into more specific topics, like his approach to analytics and desire to build relationships with the current roster. To the latter, unfortunately due to safety reasons Donovan won’t be joining the Bulls ‘camp’ already in progress.

Pressers like this are always going to be pep rallies for the new hire. However, the praise seemed seemed more genuine and less forced this time. Per ESPN.com writer Eric Woodyard.

“The history. The organization. What the Bulls have meant to the game of basketball and to basketball worldwide,” said Donovan. “I mean, it’s an iconic franchise, and certainly to be a part of trying to help build it back up was certainly very, very appealing and exciting. I know it’s going to take a lot of work.”

This may be similar to ‘Bulls across the chest’, but it came off in a very different way.


For the cliff notes version, below is from the Bulls official Twitter account.