Jim Boylen is well-versed in the recent history of Bulls coaches and their dismissals. But that doesn’t mean he sees any of it as a cautionary tale.
“I know if I’m not me, it’s not going to be very good,” Boylen said Wednesday. “I had an [athletic director] tell me one time, ‘No one does you better than you, so be you.’ I’m trying to do that. I think I’m what this team needs, and that fits my personality. Direct, honest — it’s about the team. ‘Bulls’ across the chest has to mean something, and I haven’t wavered from that. That’s what we’re going to be.”
Former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was hard-coaching, direct and honest, and never wavered from it. And here’s what chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement when Thibodeau was fired after the 2014-15 season:
“While the head of each department of the organization must be free to make final decisions regarding his department, there must be free and open interdepartmental discussion and consideration of everyone’s ideas and opinions. These internal discussions must not be considered an invasion of turf, and must remain private. Teams that consistently perform at the highest levels are able to come together and be unified across the organization — staff, players, coaches, management and ownership. When everyone is on the same page, trust develops and teams can grow and succeed together. Unfortunately, there has been a departure from this culture.”
After Thibodeau’s firing, the Bulls went with an opposite personality, Fred Hoiberg, as coach. Hoiberg was fired Dec. 3 in Year 4 of his five-year deal, and now it’s back to a coach who’s all about push, push, push.
Asked about the similarities between himself and Thibodeau, Boylen joked, “Well, I’m a little better looking.”
“Other than that,” he said, “I think we both care about our guys, both trying to get the players to honor the essence of the team, play for the team, play for each other. Obviously, he’s building something [with the Timberwolves], and something positive. And we’re building something here — in my opinion, positive, too.”
Speaking of Hoiberg …
Asked about his replacement being fired, Thibodeau spoke kindly of Hoiberg.
“Fred is a good man, and you hate to see it during the season,” Thibodeau said. “It’s bittersweet. It’s an opportunity for Jim, and Jim has waited a long time to get an opportunity, so that part is good. But you hate to see anyone lose their job. It’s the business we’re in.”
Parker update (sort of)
Where does Boylen’s relationship with Jabari Parker stand these days? Is Parker — who’s allegedly hoping to be traded — any closer to being a factor on the court?
Boylen’s response: “Jabari is available to play, and we’ll see how it goes.”