Jim Boylen is out as head coach of the Chicago Bulls.
Boylen accepted the coaching job in December 2018 and compiled a 39-84 record with the Bulls and didn’t make an appearance in the NBA Playoffs.
During his tenure, Boylen often held players on the Bulls roster accountable in an old-school manner that didn’t always sit right with them. One of those players who had a rift with Boylen was the face of the franchise, Zach LaVine.
LaVine signed a 4 year, $78 milion contract in 2018 with the Chicago Bulls that runs throught 2022. With two years remaining on his current deal, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent Summer 2022 and there were rumblings that the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks had interest in LaVine should Lavine ask for a trade.
Late last month I was told that not only is LaVine ‘scary about the coaching situation’ and there’s a thought process that the Bulls ‘would want to do whatever they need to do to make him comfortable.’
Through 60 games this season, LaVine averaged 25.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.5 steals per contest. The firing of Boylen came as no surprise to anyone.
“Boylen is a great guy, but a great assistant,” a source with knowledge of the Bulls’ coaching situation shared with me this afternoon.
Now a coaching search begins for the next head coach of the Chicago Bulls.
Million Dollar Question: Who will be the next head coach of the Bulls?
“For a young team its the right personality and the right fit,” one Bulls fixture tells me.
“You gotta have a coach that understands the development of players, while also relating to players. The Bulls are expected to make it to the NBA Playoffs this year and they are a team that should have same trajectory like the Memphis Grizzlies and the Phoenix Suns. You look at Brooklyn [Nets] and the Wizards and they’re in the .500 range, there’s no reason that the Bulls shouldn’t have been there this season and in the bubble in Orlando.”
While LaVine is the face of the Bulls, injuries also haven’t been kind to a young squad that includes Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., Thaddeus Young, Otto Porter Jr., Tomas Satoransky, Chandler Hutchison, Ryan Arcidiacono, Denzel Valentine and Coby White and finished with an eleventh place record at 22-43 under Jim Boylen.
This evening, I’m told that the Bulls are giving careful consideration to a few candidates. Ones shared with me does in fact include former Brooklyn Nets head coach, Kenny Atkinson, Toronto Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin and Minnesota Timberwolves associate head coach David Vanterpool.
One name that has not been mentioned is Mark Jackson.
Jackson has a history of developmental work during his days as the head coach of the Golden State Warriors. In three seasons, Jackson, 55, went 121-109 and developed All Stars Steph Curry and Klay Thompson who’d later win multiple championships under current Warriors head coach, Steve Kerr.
I inquired with someone whether Jackson is being considered by the Bulls for a potential head coaching position, their response was: “I don’t know that they’re looking but they should. It should be given more thought.”