The Chicago Bulls finally pulled the trigger on the decision fans, and likely players have been waiting on since the team made a change in management. They fired Jim Boylen on Friday.
Arturas Karnisovas Explains Bulls’ Decision to Fire Jim Boylen
“After doing a comprehensive evaluation and giving the process the time it deserved, I ultimately decided that a fresh approach and evolution in leadership was necessary,” executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas said in a statement. “This was a very difficult decision, but it is time for our franchise to take that next step as we move in a new direction and era of Chicago Bulls basketball. Jim is a great human being that cares deeply about this organization and the game of basketball. I want to thank him for his professionalism and commitment to the franchise.”
Over the past two seasons, Boylen coached the Bulls to an abysmal 39-84 record. During that time, Boylen clashed with several players including Bulls star Zach LaVine, and it appeared as though once-promising young rising star Lauri Markkanen had lost his confidence. Clearly, this was a move the Bulls had to make to move forward.
Top Replacement Candidates
Many consider current Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach and former NBA player Ime Udoka as the top candidate to replace Boylen. Karnisovas hired Marc Eversley as their general manager after he had previously served as the Senior Vice President of Player Personnel for the 76ers. Needless to say, he knows Udoka well.
Udoka played professionally for 10 years in Spain, Argentina and the NBA. His time in the NBA was spent with the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, and he played three years with the San Antonio Spurs. His time with the Spurs led to assistant coaching duties under Gregg Popovich, where he also serves as the summer league coach for the team.
In other words, he comes highly recommended and has impressive connections all over the basketball world. Udoka just turned 43 years old and seems to be an excellent fit for the Bulls’ young roster.
At one point, many would have suggested Griffin would be near the top of the list with Udoka. However, Udoka’s connection with Eversley and some recent controversy surrounding Griffin may hurt his chances of landing the Bulls’ job or any other one for that matter.
Griffin is a long-time assistant who is currently with the Toronto Raptors, and has spent some time with the Bulls under Tom Thibodeau has been accused of some pretty nasty things by his ex-wife who took to Twitter to make these accusations public.
If Griffin was a serious candidate, these accusations could push an NBA team away from him. We’ll see how this plays out for Griffin, but in the meantime, anyone besides Udoka, at least getting the right of first refusal, would be a shock.