Hoiberg expresses unhappiness with perceived communication issues

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Coach Fred Hoiberg rarely shows much emotion toward the media.

He usually responds to controversy with vagueness.

But on Saturday, Hoiberg wanted to make his message loud and clear after Bobby Portis and Michael Carter-Williams publicly expressed some befuddlement during the last week about decisions made by the coaching staff.

Portis was asked if he was confused when he was sent down to the D-League for a game in January.

“A lot,’’ Portis said at first. “I didn’t understand why I had to go down, but at the same time, I knew that it was all for a reason.’’

He later said, “I know sometimes they send guys to the D-League just to get reps, and I had to get reps, so that’s what that was.’’

So he did know why he was sent down, but one report took his initial reaction and ran with it.

That didn’t sit well with Hoiberg.

“Let me talk about Bobby first,’’ Hoiberg said. “He and I had a very good conversation before he went to the D-League. He knew exactly why he was going. He and I talked about . . . you know, I saw something in the media last week. He said, ‘Coach, I meant nothing by that. I don’t know how that came across.’ He and I had that discussion. We talked about sending him back to the D-League a second time, but after sitting down and talking with him, we decided against it because he was going back into the rotation quickly.

“Bobby said, ‘Coach, I promise you I meant nothing by that.’ So I don’t know if it was something taken out of context or what it was.’’

Carter-Williams said Thursday that finding playing time for five point guards was confusing and added, “Some days you just wish Coach would come out and say, ‘Listen, you’ve got to do this. This person has to do this.’ Some days I’m thankful that the spot is still open, so that I can compete for it and get it. It’s tough, though.’’

Hoiberg said he addressed the situation with Carter-Williams.

“The biggest thing I talked to him about — we had two very good conversations the previous two days — is that I wanted to make sure we were clear on everything we’ve got going on right now,’’ Hoiberg said. “[Carter-Williams] said, ‘Absolutely, we’re 100 percent clear.’ So we’ve just got to keep trying to do the best we can communicating, and hopefully we’re getting the message across.’’

Hoiberg obviously is sensitive about his communication skills. It’s a storyline that goes back to last season, when there was a major difference of opinion between Hoiberg and Joakim Noah about Noah’s status in the rotation. Did Noah go to Hoiberg and say he was fine with a role off the bench (Hoiberg’s version) or did Hoiberg simply make the call (Noah’s version)?

Their relationship was never the same. Hoiberg learned from that experience and has tried to make sure that he and his players remain on the same page.

Hoiberg’s message was that he and Portis have always been on the same page and that he no longer has an issue with Carter-Williams.

“You talk to them about it,’’ Hoiberg said. “It was a learning experience; hopefully it doesn’t happen again.’’

Follow me on Twitter @suntimes_hoops.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com

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