The Chicago Bulls have parted ways with head coach Jim Boylen.
Boylen, 55, gained a reputation during his time as the Bulls head coach as being… crazy. Very early on in his tenure his players almost formed a mutiny against him due to what they deemed as unnecessarily challenging practices and questionable coaching decisions. Continued losing didn’t help either.
It was a shock he was retained after last season, as he has replaced Fred Hoiberg during the year after the Bulls got off to an awful start. He finishes his time in Chicago with a record of 39-84.
Shortly after the NBA season was suspended, Chicago restructured their front office. Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson, who had been the top voice in basketball decisions with the team since 2003, was made a senior advisor, and replaced by Artūras Karnišovas, who had been assistant GM in Denver since 2013.
Bulls GM Gar Forman, another key decisionmaker for many years, was fired during this time. A few weeks later the Bulls hired Marc Eversley, who had been in the 76ers front office the past few seasons, as GM.
With a new front office, a change at head coach was inevitable.
According to Shams Charania, the Chicago Bulls are considering the following candidates for their head coaching vacancy: Kenny Atkinson, Ime Udoka, Stephen Silas, David Vanterpool, Darvin Ham, and Wes Unseld Jr.
Atkinson, 53, was previously the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets. He led the team through a challenging rebuild lacking first round draft picks which were traded to Boston years earlier. The team made the postseason during his third season in 2019, at last offseason they signed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. However, he stepped down March 7 (likely not his own choice). He went 118-190 during his time as head coach.
Udoka, 43, is currently an assistant coach with the Philadelphia 76ers, an immediate connection to new Bulls GM Marc Eversley. Prior to working in Philly, Udoka had been an assistant on Gregg Popovich’s staff. Udoka played in the NBA as well, with stints on the Knicks, Trail Blazers, Kings and Spurs.
Stephen Silas, son of former NBA coach and player Paul Silas, has been an assistant coach for almost 20 years. He worked under his father his first 5 years as an assistant with the Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers, playing a role in the early development of LeBron James. He’s worked with the Warriors, Hornets (formerly the Bobcats), and presently the Mavericks. He has also ran basketball camps across the world.
Vanterpool, 47, is currently the associate head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Prior to this season he worked for 7 years as an assistant in Portland. Vanterpool was considered for the head coach openings in Cleveland and Phoenix last offseason, as well as Minnesota before being hired by Ryan Saunders.
Ham, 47, is currently an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks, having been with the team the past 2 seasons. He moved to Milwaukee from Atlanta, where he had also worked under current Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer when he was head coach of the Hawks. Like Silas, Ham has ran basketball clinics internationally.
Finally, Unseld, Jr, son of former NBA player Wes Unseld, is currently an assistant coach with the Denver Nuggets, an immediate connection to new Bulls VP of Basketball Operations Artūras Karnišovas. Unseld Jr has been in Denver since 2015, with previous assistant gigs in Orlando, Golden State and Washington.
Only one candidate (Atkinson) has previous head coaching experience, and all seem ideal for a team looking to enter a rebuilding/restructuring phase keen on developing young talent.
The Bulls have not made the playoffs since 2017.
Top image from the Chicago Tribune
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