It’s time for Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg to stand up to Gar/Pax

There’s nothing wrong with being “The Mayor.’’

Coach Fred Hoiberg has worn that moniker well for years.

But a speaker of the house is what the Bulls need. With only 17 regular-season games left and a playoff spot twisting in the wind, the house on Madison  is a mess.

The front office’s goal is well-documented. It was laid out at last month’s trade deadline when general manager Gar Forman and vice president of basketball operations John Paxson sent Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott to the Thunder for Anthony Morrow, Joffrey Lauvergne and Cameron Payne.

Make the playoffs, but develop the young roster along the way in order for the front office to evaluate what it has as it builds a new core.

It’s not an easy task. More important, it’s not a fair task.

It’s not fair to the veterans who want to play games that matter in April. It’s not fair to a fan base that has watched management try to cover up its missteps the last three years with talk of “rebuilds’’ and “retooling.’’

And mostly, it’s not fair to Hoiberg, who’s weakening his standing with his players, coaching staff and fan base by trying to appease his bosses.

The same bosses, by the way, who’ve shown no loyalty to previous coaches.

“We revisit it every morning as a staff,’’ Hoiberg said Saturday when discussing the idea of again playing a 12-man rotation in Boston. “You’re always looking at how you can put your team in the best position to win, while at the same time getting these guys valuable minutes. We have talked about it a lot; we go into every game with a plan.’’

How’s this for a plan?

Stop it.

Going 12 deep in the blow-out loss Friday night to the Rockets was a disaster. And for what?

So Forman can somehow see 12 minutes of Jerian Grant, 16 minutes of Lauvergne and 16 minutes of Payne? Go watch them in practice.

Or is Forman somehow trying to win the trade with Oklahoma City? He can forget that. It was lost upon consummation.

The constant switching of players against the Rockets seemed to kill the rhythm and flow after the Bulls had built a 10-point lead at the end of the first quarter, and the veterans felt it.

“Night in and night out, you don’t know what it’s going to come down to,’’ Jimmy Butler said. “Who is going to play what minutes with what lineup? I think that’s hard.’’

The one person who can put his foot down is Hoiberg.

Obviously, he’s not one to rock the boat, but no one is asking for another cold war between coach and front office a la Tom Thibodeau.

Thibodeau, however, stood up to the wrongs, and his players loved him for it until the water was beyond poisoned by Gar/Pax.

Hoiberg needs to simply tighten the rotation to his nine best players — development be damned — and show his team that this is a pass/fail business, and wins and losses are the barometer.

More important, he can show his players that he’ll do right by them.

What is the front office going to do? Fire Hoiberg with three more years and $15 million left on his contract? Bulls coaches only have a certain shelf life anyway.

Sometimes mayors have even less.

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@suntimes_hoops.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com


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