Tag: Tony Snell

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat

Report: Aaron Brooks reaches one-year deal to remain with Bulls


He was a guy Tom Thibodeau trusted, now he’s going to have to earn the confidence of Fred Hoiberg.

He’ll get the chance because Aaron Brooks will be back with the Chicago Bulls, something first reported by Marc Stein of ESPN and now confirmed by Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com.

Brooks averaged 11.6 points and 3.2 assists in playing all 82 games for the Bulls last season, starting 21 games due to various injury absences. Brooks made the veteran’s minimum last season but he’ll earn more than that in 2015-16.

There was speculation the Bulls would go for a bigger guard who could possess the ability to play both guard spots as opposed to just one, but when the market dried up after a few targets signed above-average deals, it didn’t leave the luxury-tax paying Bulls with many options, and a return engagement with Brooks was an easy choice.

This gives the Bulls essentially the same backcourt as last season, with Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler (who re-signed with the team) as the starters and Brooks with Kirk Hinrich and Tony Snell behind them.

Overall the Bulls roster is largely the same as last year, they are simply counting on health and a more modern offense under Hoiberg to make them more serious challengers to Chicago.

What kind of coach is Chicago getting with Fred Hoiberg?

Fred Hoiberg

The Chicago Bulls have their guy — Fred Hoiberg officially will be introduced as the new coach of the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday. Bulls GM Gar Forman was an assistant coach at Iowa State when Hoiberg starred for that team (before his 10-year NBA career), that long-standing relationship was the foundation upon which this deal would ultimately get done.

But what kind of coach is Chicago getting?

In a lot of ways, the anti-Thibodeau.

“He already has the demeanor of an NBA coach: He’s not a yeller or a screamer, he’s not a recruiter or a salesmen, he’s not born to be a CEO of a program,” Rob Dauster of our sister site CollegeBasketballTalk.com. He’s even-keeled, the kind of guy that will let players do whatever they want as long as they understand that mistakes — on and off the court — mean the bench.”

Hoiberg is considered a players’ coach, but not in the “they can do whatever they want” way. More in the Jeff Hornacek or Brad Stevens way — guys who don’t let their ego get the better of them in making decisions.

Hoiberg also an offensive minded coach who will bring the Bulls out of the old-school, conventional system they have been running.

“Offensively, he’s brilliant, running sets that thrive on creating space and isolating mismatches, which is what the NBA game is all about these days,” Dauster say. “I think he’s going to have a lot of success at that level.”

A more creative offensive system was one of the things the Bulls had said they wanted from their new coach.

Another thing the Bulls said they were looking for was a communicator — which was not-so-subtle code for “someone who listens to us.” Unlike Thibodeau. Someone who will engage with the front office on the matter of reduced minutes for Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose, and Jimmy Butler. Someone who will give Nikola Mirotic, Tony Snell, and Doug McDerrmott more run to build up the bench. Hoiberg will do all that. He spent three years in the Timberwolves front office; he understands that side of the desk. He also understands getting guys to play to their strengths.

“The biggest reason that I think Fred Hoiberg will have success in the NBA is that he understands how to manage talent,” Dauster added. “There’s a reason that so many talented cast-offs from other programs found success in his program.”

The Bulls front office finally got they guy they wanted.

Although, there is one caveat:

Thibodeau won.

The NBA is a bottom line business, and Thibodeau delivered on the bottom line. He is a defensive innovator and a Team USA Coach. Thibs teams won. Yes, he wore down players, and that could have hastened injuries. Yes, some of those same players were pretty burnt out on him by the end. But they won for him.

For all the communication, no matter how much better he utilizes players and reduces minutes, no matter how creative the offense, if the team doesn’t win things could turn ugly in Chicago.

And that will be on the front office, too. This was their move.



Three coaches who may replace Tom Thibodeau in Chicago


It was time.

But now the Bulls have to do better than the guy they had. That is not going to be easy.

Tom Thibodeau is one of the better, more successful coaches in the NBA. He’s also a hard-driving guy who physically and mentally wore out his charges, guys who did not want him back as the coach. Thibodeau changed the NBA game with his defense, but his offense was conventional, lagging far behind what innovative teams — Golden State, San Antonio — had done to counter his defenses. The blood was bad in Chicago, time for everyone to move on.

That doesn’t excuse the quiet smear job Bulls management has been doing to Thibodeau — up to and including his firing — but there’s a ring of truth to all of it.

Thibodeau will land on his feet somewhere. He’s sought after, and as a classic workaholic he incapable of taking a year off to backpack through Thailand. Or whatever.

Now what direction do the Bulls go?

Bulls GM Gar Forman tried to play his cards close to his vest Thursday at the press conference. (From PBT’s Sean Highkin, who was at the press conference.)

“I just don’t think we’re going to put ourselves in a box. I know that’s kind of an easy thing to say, but we’ve got certain criteria, some of which I’ve already said, but we’re not going to put ourselves in a box that it had to have been a head coach, an assistant, what level they’ve coached at. We’re really looking for the right fit. I went through some of those things that I talked about, obviously someone that could lead, someone that can communicate at a high level, has a great knowledge of the game. Obviously experience is a plus, as far as coaching is concerned. If they’ve been a head coach, even more so. But we’re not going to limit the search in any way.”

Sure. That is a PR crafted statement. The truth is they pretty much are limiting their serious search to these three guys:

1) Fred Hoiberg. The current Iowa State coach — and former 10-year NBA player and front office executive with Minnesota — has long been on the top of the Chicago Bulls list. He’s considered the most NBA-ready of the college coaches by GMs around the league, there will not be as much learning on the job as with most college coaches. The question is does he want to make the leap to the NBA right now? Hoiberg grew up in Ames, Iowa, the hometown of Iowa State. That’s where he played his college ball. He’s called the mayor there for a reason. Plus, he recently had a heart procedure — is deep-dish pizza and NBA hours/stress what he wants in his life right now?

2) Alvin Gentry. He’s sort of the anti-Thibodeau — a player-friendly coach whose strength is on the offensive end. He was the lead assistant in Golden State this year where his fingerprints are all over the Warriors’ prolific offense. The season before he was Doc Rivers’ lead assistant in charge of a Clippers’ offense that has been the most efficient in the league for a couple seasons. There is plenty of talent in Chicago — Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol, Jimmy Butler (who will re-sign in Chicago), Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic, Tony Snell, Doug McDermott, plus Mike Dunleavy. If the Bulls want to change course, this is the best call.

3) Adrian Griffin. The Bulls current lead assistant keeps the job in house but promotes a guy a lot of the league sees as an assistant ready for the move to the big chair. He’s a former NBA player who is credited with the development of guys like Jimmy Butler (who just one Most Improved Player). The guys in the locker room love him.  He’s not a bad choice, but he is Plan C — if Hoiberg and Gentry both pass on Chicago, Griffin’s phone will ring. 

PBT Extra: It’s time for a coaching change in Chicago

Cleveland at Chicago, Game 6

Watching the Chicago Bulls lay down for the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 6, it became clear:

The Chicago Bulls need a new coach.

It’s time for Tom Thibodeau to move on (likely to New Orleans). It’s not that Thibodeau isn’t a good coach, but this team clearly needs a new voice and a new direction.

Beyond that, whoever comes in will have a lot of roster questions to answer: Just how much can Derrick Rose really give anymore? What about Joakim Noah? Can Tony Snell and Doug McDermott be real contributors on a regular basis? There are many more.

Just getting a new coach is not enough in Chicago.

Report: Fred Hoiberg uncertain about NBA jump, Alvin Gentry could be new frontrunner to replace Tom Thibodeau with Bulls

Fred Hoiberg

Bulls management reportedly wants to dump Tom Thibodeau.

The Pelicans and Magic reportedly want to hire Thibodeau.

Everything seems to falling into place – except Chicago landing its desired replacement coach.

Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg is reportedly the top choice, but he recently underwent heart surgery.

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:

sources near that situation say Hoiberg, who’s been dealing with heart related issues and had another heart procedure last month, may not be looking to jump to the NBA and the stress level associated with it.

If the Bulls do part ways with Thibodeau, it’s unclear who they would target as his replacement. Sources peg Warriors assistant Alvin Gentry as a serious front runner.

Hopefully, Hoiberg makes a full recovery and can pursue the career options he desires rather than the ones his health dictates.

Gentry would be an interesting choice, though. A Warriors assistant, he said he’d like to become a head coach again – but he won’t leave Golden State for just any top job.

The Bulls present an intriguing opportunity.

Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic form a strong core and are all under contract for next season. Jimmy Butler, a restricted free agent, should also return. Tony Snell and Doug McDermott could make leaps, and Chicago has all its future first-round picks plus a first-rounder from the Kings if they can escape the top 10 of the draft in the next two years.

The Bulls don’t have Anthony Davis like the coach-searching Pelicans, but Chicago has an easier road in the Eastern Conference.

If Gentry brings some offensive creativity and the players remember the defensive principles instilled by Thibodeau, they could really roll.

This is the type of opening – should it come open – coaches flock to. Hoiberg and Gentry are both strong candidates, and if the Bulls want/need to explore the pool further, they’ll find other quality options.