Jim Boylen has staying power — at least more than some of his Bulls players
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The only scene missing from the Jim Boylen saga these days is Dennis Hopper, playing the role of Shooter in “Hoosiers,” stumbling into the Advocate Center late one night with a scouting report on the Bulls’ next opponent.
Yes, the last three weeks have played out like a Hollywood script for the Bulls: A new coach comes in hot, looking to change the culture with a boot-camp mentality; a few players attempt to revolt before buying in, and the team plays competitive basketball.
That’s where things stand for the Bulls.
The players who matter to the front office have bought in to Boylen’s tough love, and there’s a 3-2 record in the last five games to prove it.
Does it have enough staying power? Who knows? But it has more than many realize.
So while outside media, bloggers and even many fans have been critical of all things Bulls since Fred Hoiberg was fired, one quick stop in the locker room and a chat with the players goes a long way in showing just how much backing Boylen suddenly has.
And it doesn’t stop there.
Boylen has been empowered by the front office — and more important, ownership — to be the hammer that fixes what they deem to be a few bent nails.
“I have been in the league awhile,’’ Boylen said Saturday when discussing the open dialogue he has with his bosses. “If the time comes where they need my support, I’ll be there for them all night long. Whatever they need. We are connected. Never felt more supported in anything in my life, and I appreciate it.’’
As long as the Bulls continue to play with the toughness that the organization is looking for, Boylen will be back next season, possibly with a contract extension in hand.
But the same can’t be said for everyone wearing a Bulls uniform. The team will have a different look by the NBA trade deadline Feb. 7.
Out the door
Jabari Parker: If it was up to Boylen, he would have helped the former Simeon standout pack his bags last week. Forget being on different pages. These two aren’t even in the same book.
Robin Lopez: He’s a valued asset off the bench for a playoff contender with a nice, tidy expiring contract. Lopez is the ultimate team guy, but at best he’d give the Bulls a second-round draft pick.
Justin Holiday: Like Lopez, he’s a great veteran with an expiring contract, and his improved outside shooting has raised his value a bit. Holiday would give a boost to a playoff team looking for help off the bench.
Kris Dunn: The tough-minded guard is playing with a chip on his shoulder, whether it was the organization firing him up by looking at drafting a point guard this summer or him understanding the importance of his third year in the league. Dunn is working his way back into being a core player. If that continues, expect rumors about his future to stop.