The Chicago Bulls finally made a decision on what they were going to do with head coach Tom Thibodeau. The official press release was less than flattering in regards to their now departed coach and the organization had security escort Thibodeau out of the building. The success over the past five years was not as important as the way he and management bumped heads. And from all accounts, that was the reason the Bulls parted ways with the successful head coach. But Thibodeau will not be walking out empty-handed. The Bulls will be paying him the remaining $9 million he had left on his two-year contract. Chicago now moves forward and there are a few coach’s names that have been mentioned as potential replacements for Thibodeau. Names like Warriors assistant Alvin Gentry and currently ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy have been mentioned, but it seems as if one name has stood above the rest. Former NBA player and current Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg has caught the attention of the Chicago Bulls. And according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, the Bulls even had a five year, $25 million deal in place for Hoiberg to be head coach of the team before officially firing Thibodeau. The Bulls and Hoiberg have not said much, but Hoiberg will more than likely be the head coach in Chicago when the 2015-2016 season starts. With that being said, a new era of NBA basketball will begin in Chicago. But what can be expected under with him at the helm?
What Hoiberg brings to the table as the head coach of the Bulls will be something that creates some questions among basketball fans. There is some thought that he will be a good head coach in the NBA. He has a couple things going for him in regards to the Bulls head coaching job. Unlike Thibs, Hoiberg actually is good friends with some of the Bulls brass already. He is a former Bull actually and management holds him in high regard. Management has said that they seek a place where everyone works together as a team from management on down and it seems that they are comfortable working with Hoiberg because of his relationship with general manager Gar Foreman. But along with being friends with some in management in Chicago, Hoiberg is also a former front-office guy himself. He actually worked in the front office with the Minnesota Timberwolves before heading to Aimes, Iowa to coach his alma mater Iowa State. And even though he does not have prior coaching experience, he is used to making decisions on the professional level. And the last coach that came previously worked in an NBA front office and took a head coaching job with his next opportunity is doing pretty well in his own right. In fact, he has his team in the NBA Finals. His name is Steve Kerr. The Bulls may not get that type of success in Hoiberg, but they appear to be sold on what Hoiberg could potentially do for their team and organization.
But along with the good things that Hoiberg could bring, there is also a flipside to this equation. Hoiberg comes from Iowa State just like another former Chicago Bulls coach. Back in 1998, the Bulls hired Tim Floyd away from Iowa State. Floyd was stepping into an awful situation. He was receiving a Bulls team that had been dismantled after winning a third straight championship. With Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and Phil Jackson as coach gone, the team was gutted and had no identity. But he wanted to coach the team and his friend, general manager Jerry Krause, was there to help him along, or so he thought. The team had been depleted and was a work in progress. But with that being said, usually a team shows some type of progress when trying to rebuild. Under Floyd it seemed like the team regressed each year. Ultimately, he was let go and there was no prettiness to it. He, like Thibodeau, did not get along with management in the end and was relieved of his duties. Hoiberg is not Floyd, but the same scenario is playing out with the relationship between Foreman and Hoiberg and the fact that he is also still the coach at Iowa State. The parallels are there and they could undoubtedly play out the same way for Hoiberg. Another issue has to be the health of Hoiberg. When he was playing in Minnesota, he had to call it a career after he had some heart issues. That is what led to him being in the front office with the Timberwolves. And recently, Hoiberg had open heart surgery for the second time. The clearance of his doctors is seemingly the only thing keeping him from accepting the head coaching job with the Bulls. This has to be something that weighs on the Bulls’ minds heavily going into the reported pact that they have. No matter how good or bad a coach he is, there could always be that thought in the back of management’s minds that he could end his coaching career at any point due to a reoccurring issue with his health. Hopefully the Bulls are smart enough to make provisions in his contract in regards to the health issues because there is always the possibility that his coaching stay in Chicago could be short.
In the end, the Thibs era is over and a new one will be started whether some fans like it or not. This could go good or bad depending on what you think about this situation. But Hoiberg is the guy that is up next for the Bulls head coaching position. And with his hire, there will potentially be some changes to the roster to suit what he wants. All eyes will be on Chicago going into next year because when a successful head coach is fired, there is always a watchful eye by NBA fans to see if they made the right decision.