According to one source in the coaching circuit on Friday, the idea that the Bulls were actually having a so-called coaching search was nothing more than “a charade.’’
“It’s just when Fred [Hoiberg] says yes to them, not if,’’ the source said. “This is a year in the works.’’
Coaches – both college and at the NBA level – are actually very much dialed into one another, and there weren’t many at in either profession that didn’t feel like the Bulls and Hoiberg would be a match “sooner than later.’’
With the NBA Finals between Cleveland and Golden State set to start on Thursday, the Bulls could have the Hoiberg matter signed, sealed and delivered before then.
The only possible hiccup out there seems to be the Minnesota Timberwolves, who also covet Hoiberg. Hoiberg played for the Timberwolves from 2003-05, and then was an assistant general manager for the franchise, seemingly on the fast track to become the general manager. When that never materialized, he went into coaching prior to the 2010 season, and has turned Iowa State into a prominent NCAA program.
According to sources, he’s actually been on the Bulls’ radar since late last year as a Plan B, and as the relationship between now former coach Tom Thibodeau and the front office disintegrated as the year has gone on, he was Plan A with no realistic options following him.
That’s what made the press conference with VP of basketball operations John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman such good theater on Thursday, as the two had to do their best to act like it will be a vast coaching search.
“We’ve got certain criteria that we’re going to be looking for in the next coach,’’ Forman said. “But we’re not going to put ourselves in a box – ‘had to be a head coach, had to be an assistant coach, what level they’ve coached on’ – we’re really going to look for the right fit.
“And I went through some of those things that I’ve talked about. Obviously someone that can lead, but we’ve got to get somebody that can communicate at a high level, that’s got 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 our search in any way.’’
Meanwhile, not there has been much mystery to the Hoiberg-Bulls connection anyway, but the newspapers that cover Hoiberg and his college team continued to put out stories concerning the university already putting together a list of possible candidates to replace the Iowa State coach, as well as Hoiberg telling recruits that he admittedly couldn’t promise that he would be around very much longer.
The so-called “search’’ wasn’t the only part of that Thursday press conference that raised some eyebrows as well as some doubt as to the validity of what was being said.
Paxson was adamant that Thibodeau was let go based on performance this postseason, insisting, “We probably wouldn’t be sitting here if we won the championship.’’
Not only has Yahoo Sports reported that Thibodeau was dead man walking even if the Bulls won a championship, but a source close to the situation confirmed that Friday morning.