The Chicago Bulls will enter the 2020-21 season with several significant changes to its front office and coaching staff. The firing of long time general manager Gar Forman back in April set off a chain reaction within the franchise, which led to Chicago bringing in Arturas Karnisovas as the new vice president of basketball operations and Marc Eversley as the new general manager. Now, the team will begin its search for a new head coach.
The Bulls announced Friday morning that they were relieving head coach Jim Boylen of his duties, ending this long-standing will-they-won't-they dance over the past few months. The Bulls will retain the assistant coaches for now, in order to continue working with players at the team facility, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
This was to be expected as a new regime was taking over, however, just last week a report surfaced saying that the franchise was likely to retain Boylen in an attempt to essentially save money. Boylen had one of the lowest salaries in the league, making just $1.6 million, and because team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf was suffering significant financial losses with the White Sox and Bulls due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was thought that Boylen could stay on.
Now, though, it appears that the Bulls changed course and are wanting to move ahead with a new head coach. Karnisovas will begin a search for a new head coach immediately, per Wojnarowski. Among those to be considered for the position, are Nuggets assistant Wes Unseld Jr., former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin and Bucks assistant Darvin Ham.
Karnisovas released the following statement:
"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. 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."
Boylen took over as head coach of the franchise in the middle of the 2018-19 season, after Fred Hoiberg was fired. Since taking over, Boylen posted a 39-84 record in a season and a half with the team. During that time, very little progress was made toward competing for the playoffs again. There were several instances where it was clear that Boylen lost his locker room, as franchise players like Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen criticized the team's style of play to the media. It was even reported in April that Markkanen would rather play elsewhere if there weren't major changes to the Bulls' plan.
It's safe to say that Chicago has made significant changes to its plan since their season ended back in March, and by bringing in a new coach to run the show, this franchise can finally figure out if a core of LaVine, Markkanen, Coby White and Wendell Carter Jr., can actually lead them back to the postseason.