Fred Hoiberg will not survive beyond this season as the Bulls’ coach.
The axing might not come at Christmas or even by February. Heck, it might drag on until April, when the 2018-19 season will have come to a disappointing end, but it will come.
The writing on the wall is accumulating; the narrative already is being spun.
Hoiberg will become the latest fall guy, while the organization once again will have missed the real culprit.
If Hoiberg doesn’t see Year 5 of his five-year contract and general manager Gar Forman doesn’t take the fall along the way, it’s the equivalent of the organization knocking on the door of every Bulls fan and season-ticket holder, kicking at it, then sticking both middle fingers up when it’s opened.
It’s chairman Jerry Reinsdorf telling his fan base, “I don’t give a damn what you think.’’
This is no longer about Reinsdorf’s blind loyalty to front-office personnel; it has turned into flat-out defiance. He’s ignoring a message that is loud and clear: Forman has failed miserably in his current post.
Forman is disliked by many in the organization, players — current and former — find him untrustworthy and, more important, he’s a punch line for other organizations.
At best, he’s an adequate scout.
But an NBA general manager? Not even close.
Forman’s main characteristic is that he’s a survivor. He avoids blame and accountability much like a roach avoids light. He works in the dark and scurries away when exposed.
Here’s all you need to know about the Bulls and Forman. They gave him a contract extension last year and did everything they could to keep it a secret.
An extension is usually a proud moment for a franchise, accompanied by a news conference or a statement. It’s a chance for an organization to beat its chest and proclaim, “This is our guy.’’
Since that extension, they’ve kept Forman away from the team and media, like he’s an embarrassing uncle. Vice president of basketball operations John Paxson has taken over most of the heavy lifting in the public eye, which really isn’t in his job description.
Why the role switch?
Because the Bulls know that each time Forman speaks publicly, he elicits instant disdain from the fan base.
He can hide no more, however.
The relationship no longer might be what it was, but Hoiberg was Forman’s guy.
Forman was back-channeling with the then-Iowa State coach for almost a year, plotting the eventual ouster of former coach Tom Thibodeau throughout the 2014-15 season. After Thibodeau was fired, Forman said Thibodeau’s tenure had achieved “some success.’’
In Forman’s world, a 255-139 record (.647 winning percentage) is “some success.’’
He lied to the media that day, insisting that a vast coaching search would take place. Please, Hoiberg already had been hired; he just needed to sign.
Forman has hit in the draft on Jimmy Butler and likely on Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr., but there are still too many Tony Snells on his résumé, and, even worse, he didn’t allow Thibodeau to get his wish in the 2012 draft and land Draymond Green. Instead, Forman was talked into Marquis Teague by the Kentucky coaching staff.
The biggest indictment, however, is that Forman hasn’t landed a big-name free agent.
The Bulls can rebuild all they want, but at some point, they need to add stars. Stars aren’t attracted to awkward conversation from a guy who comes across like a bad used-car salesman.
The Sun-Times reported in the offseason that Reinsdorf was not thrilled with the development of the younger players, and sources indicated that nothing has changed.
Fair or unfair, Hoiberg is on borrowed time.
Forman has to go with him.
The roach can no longer avoid the light.