Bulls coach Billy Donovan builds his staff, headlined by Chicago native Maurice Cheeks
Donovan cleaned out most of the coaching offices at the Advocate Center last month and wasted little time filling them back up.
The coaching offices at the Advocate Center didn’t stay vacant for long.
A few weeks after purging most of the staff, new Bulls coach Billy Donovan on Monday hired Chicago native Maurice Cheeks and Josh Longstaff as assistants. Former 76ers assistant John Bryant reportedly was hired last week.
The hiring of Cheeks wasn’t a surprise. He was Donovan’s right-hand man throughout his five-year tenure with the Thunder. Longstaff also was an assistant with the Thunder, but not under Donovan. He also has been an assistant with the Knicks and, most recently, with the Bucks.
Longstaff joins the Bulls with a reputation of having the players-first mentality Donovan and executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas have been preaching, but it’s Cheeks who is the big prize.
Cheeks, 64, brings on-court experience after playing 15 seasons as an elite point guard, primarily with the 76ers, but he also had stints as a head coach with the Trail Blazers, 76ers and Pistons.
He made his name as a standout for DuSable High School before heading to West Texas A&M, where he was an All-Missouri Valley Conference player for three consecutive seasons.
The 76ers drafted Cheeks in the second round in 1978, and he went on to become a four-time All-Star and a four-time selection to the All-Defensive first team. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018.
If the Bulls decide to keep defensive-minded point guard Kris Dunn in the mix, Cheeks would be a mentor for him. But even if Dunn isn’t around, expect Cheeks to help Coby White grow into the position. Not only that, but the Bulls’ entire roster will be better defensively.
Donovan fired assistants Roy Rogers, Dean Cooper, Nate Loenser and Karen Stack Umlauf when he was hired last month.