The Chicago Bulls were hopeful that they would be battling with the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors for a Top 4 seed in the Eastern Conference early in the season. Now, the Bulls sit at .500 and are fighting to stay in the playoff race and head coach Fred Hoiberg is reported to be in danger of losing his job.
That’s according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, who wrote on Friday that Chicago’s performance as of late — they’re 6-9 in December — has the team rethinking the coaching position.
The latest chatter on the coaching grapevine, meanwhile, tells us that the toastiest seat on the NBA map at present belongs, rightly or wrongly, to the Chicago Bulls’ Fred Hoiberg.
The Bulls’ largely disappointing play in December, on the heels of a non-playoff season, has put Hoiberg under earlier-than-expected pressure, according to league sources.
But it’s not just Hoiberg that’s under increased scrutiny. GM Gar Forman and VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson have delivered a team with very little spacing or offensive chemistry, even on paper. Hoiberg, a noted offensive specialist, hasn’t had much to work with and that’s due to decisions made by the Chicago front office.
Still, we see teams get antsy when it comes to slides like this, and when you can’t fire players the easiest thing to do is look at who you can hand a pink slip to.
ESPN reports that one of the biggest obstacles for the Bulls removing Hoiberg is his contract, which has guaranteed money left on his 5-year deal worth around $25 million.
As has been the case in the past with owner Jerry Krause, money may be the deciding factor and at the moment, that might save Hoiberg enough for the front office to help the roster or shift more of the blame if the Bulls continue to disappoint expectations.