Chicago Bulls’ long-suffering fans can finally look forward to a brighter future following the recent axing of head coach Jim Boylen.
It took much longer than expected for new basketball operations chief Arturas Karnisovas to make the decision, but he thankfully got there in the end.
The Bulls produced a dismal 39-84 record under Boylen – the second lowest of any coach during the history of the franchise.
Read on as we take a closer look at the coaching situation in Chicago and assess who is in the running to lead the Bulls into a new era.
Boylen Exit Was Inevitable
The Bulls were already on a slippery slope before Boylen took over in 2018, but he failed miserably to arrest the team’s slide.
While injuries to numerous key players hampered his cause, Boylen’s dated coaching style didn’t win him many friends in the locker room either.
His introduction of a ‘leadership committee’ was disastrous, creating further disharmony amongst a roster in dire need of some positivity.
Questionable tactics were also a major issue, while proclamations that team was heading the right way were an insult to everyone’s intelligence.
Time for a Modern Approach
It is difficult to imagine that the Bulls can win the NBA title next season, but their hopes would be boosted if Karnisovas appoints the right coach.
One of the biggest tasks the new man faces is to restore confidence in a group of players who have had the stuffing knocked out of them over the past couple of seasons.
Chicago does have some promising young talent on its roster and implementing a style of play that turns them into stars in the NBA will be hugely important moving forward.
With the Bulls projected to have nearly $50 million in cap space available in the 2021 off-season, this is undoubtedly an exciting project for a modern-style coach.
Unseld and Atkinson in the Frame
Denver Nuggets’ assistant coach Wes Unseld Jr and former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson are believed to be amongst the front-runners for the job.
Unseld Jr unsuccessfully applied for the Cleveland Cavaliers job in 2019 and clearly wants to test himself as a number one.
His work with the Nuggets hasn’t gone unnoticed around the NBA, but Atkinson could well be a more favourable option for the Bulls.
He has done well to lead the Nets into the play-offs this term despite injuries to key players and his ability to develop youngsters makes him an enticing proposition.
Udoka Ready to Return to Chicago?
NBC Sports’ journalist Tom Haberstroh described Ime Udoka as ‘the biggest name to watch’ in the Bulls’ search for a new head coach.
Udoka joined the Philadelphia 76ers this season after previously spending seven years as an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs.
He has impressed with the Sixers, particularly on the defensive side of things, and looks more than capable of stepping up to a head coach role.
The former Bulls player is renowned for building a positive team-ethic – a skill that Chicago desperately needs following Boylen’s disastrous tenure.