Fred Hoiberg admittedly had reservations about leaving Iowa State and the comforts of his hometown, but he said the volatile relationships the front-office tandem of vice president of basketball operations John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman had with their previous two coaches wasn’t one of them.
Maybe it should have been.
Speaking at his introductory news conference, Hoiberg was asked about the front office in the wake of the criticism thrown its way after the firing of Tom Thibodeau on Thursday.
“Am I concerned about that? I’m not,’’ Hoiberg said. “I’m very confident in my relationship with these guys. Like Gar said, I’ve known him for a long time. John was doing radio when I was playing here the first time. I really got to know him very well, as well, so I’m very comfortable with my relationship and I’m excited about this moving forward.’’
Hoiberg will be moving forward with a front office that plans to change very little with its approach, which has included Paxson’s altercation with former coach Vinny Del Negro and Paxson and Thibodeau not speaking since January.
“To start, we’re looking forward,’’ Forman said when asked if the front office needed to reassess its approach. “I mentioned in my opening statements that we’ve known Fred for a long time. We think very highly of him, we’ve got a lot of respect for him, we’ve got a lot of respect for the job that he does. I’ve known Fred for 20 years. I think Pax has known him for years and years. We’re going to try and put him in the best position to succeed, but we’re going to approach it like we always have.
“He’s going to coach, he’s going to make final decisions as far as coaching is concerned and we’re going to try and support him and our players and put them in a position to succeed. So it will be, from our standpoint, no different. We have a lot of confidence in him, a lot of confidence in the job he’ll do with this team coming up this year and as this team grows into the future.’’
Paxson and team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf were unavailable for comment, with the explanation being, “It was Fred’s day.’’
It was quite an expensive day after Hoiberg signed a reported five-year, $25 million deal. The Bulls still owe Thibodeau $9 million over the next two seasons.
Hoiberg, 42, who has had two heart procedures, tried to put any health concerns to rest.
“If there was a danger in me doing this, I wouldn’t have taken this job,’’ Hoiberg said. “And I said the same thing the first time I got into coaching Iowa State because of the pressures of any coaching job at any level.’’