Bulls general manager Jerry Krause repeatedly tried to replace legendary coach Phil Jackson. Despite previously insisting he wouldn’t quit, Tim Floyd “resigned” as Chicago’s coach on Christmas Eve 2001. The Bulls fired Bill Cartwright the Monday following Thanksgiving Weekend 2003. Chicago fired Scott Skiles on Christmas Eve 2007. Bulls executive John Paxson actually fought coach Vinny Del Negro, who got fired in 2010. Paxson and Chicago general manager Gar Forman repeatedly clashed with Tom Thibodeau, who got fired in 2015 despite his successful record. The Bulls hired long-rumored replacement Fred Hoiberg then left him out to dry as players walked all over him.
Does that coaching history explain why new Bulls president Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley are being so deliberate in assessing current coach Jim Boylen?
Joe Cowley of the Chicago Suns-Times on 670 The Score:
There is a perception problem, and when you come from the outside – like Arturas did and Marc Eversley have – you know what that perception problem is. Carlisle, the Dallas coach, has made it very clear the disdain the coaches association and a lot of coaches have for the Bulls and the practices they have toward coaches. The way they’ve treated them as commodities for more than three, four decades, the way they’ve fired guys on Christmas Eve. So, there is a perception problem that I think these guys want to change coming in now to this that the old regime didn’t care about nor did they maybe even see fully.
It’s twofold. They’re buying time because they have time to buy, but also I think it’s also a perception thing that they’re looking to change.
As long as Jerry Reinsdorf sits in that powerful chair and he’s allowed executives to treat managers and coaches like this – look, everyone thinks players talk. Coaches talk, too. This place – in the Bulls and the Advocate Center – does not have a good reputation with coaches.
Coaches love to claim other coaches got unfairly victimized, circumstances barely mattering. That isn’t changing.
Will Chicago’s reputation change?
Maybe, but Jerry Reinsdorf remains Bulls owner. These issues have spanned multiple front-office heads. Reinsdorf is the common link and remains in charge.
Top candidates to replace Boylen – Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin and 76ers assistant Ime Udoka – have emerged. If other coaches want, they could easily claim Chicago treated Boylen unfairly by seeking his replacement while leaving him dangling.
Or coaches could appreciate Karnisovas and Eversley giving ample opportunity to a coach who wants to prove himself despite struggling on and off the court.
Karnisovas shouldn’t get too hung up on immediately flipping Chicago’s reputation among coaches. He should focus on finding the best coach available then treating him right. If he does, everything else will fall in line.