All eyes on new Bulls GM Marc Eversley and his decision on coach Jim Boylen

Eversley is expected to be announced as the team’s general manager on Friday. And while there is a lot to be done, the most pressing question will be what Eversley and vice president Arturas Karnisovas do with current coach Jim Boylen.

SHARE All eyes on new Bulls GM Marc Eversley and his decision on coach Jim Boylen
The fate of Bulls coach Jim Boylen is still unknown.

The fate of Bulls coach Jim Boylen is still unknown.


Friday is Marc Eversley’s first official day as Bulls general manager.

But he actually started preparing for the job well over a decade ago.

Whether it was learning the hustle and grind of working for Nike or quickly showing an eye for identifying talent with the Raptors, Eversley had the makeup of a GM long before new Bulls head of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas decided this week that he would sit in that seat next to him.

But in coming over from the 76ers, Eversley won’t be able to just ease into his new position.

The uncertainty of what the league office will do with the rest of the NBA season in the wake of the coronavirus shutdown looms over some of the decision-making, but the front-office restructuring is far from over.

Karnisovas and Eversley still have to finish building departments, adding depth in each department. They have to scout their roster, start to identify potential free agents and trade targets, prepare for the NBA Draft and, of course, make the all-important decision on the fate of the coaching staff.

It’s that last item on the to-do list that captures most of the attention of the Bulls’ fan base. Maybe all of it.

Coach Jim Boylen never has come close to endearing himself to the fans. Boylen, however, doesn’t really care all that much about winning over the fan base. He didn’t come into the job quietly, looking to keep calm waters.

And while Boylen has publicly stated his case for returning — he carried out the old regime’s orders of establishing a defensive identity — this is a win-loss business. People have their opinions on Boylen, but the résumé is the résumé, and a 39-84 (.317) record since taking over from Fred Hoiberg is the black eye Boylen can’t conceal with cover-up.

A source told the Chicago Sun-Times this week that Eversley still has good relations with the Raptors’ organization, and that’s why assistant coach Adrian Griffin’s name continues to pop up as a potential replacement for Boylen.

Griffin was an assistant under former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, has a great understanding of defense as well as player relationships and is coming off a championship season as a member of the Raptors’ coaching staff.

Also, Karnisovas played with Griffin at Seton Hall. And he has received ringing endorsements leaguewide the last few seasons as a head-coach candidate, so Boylen’s days on the job could be numbered.

The Sun-Times and several other media outlets have reported that sources close to Boylen paint the picture of someone who fully expects to be back next season, however.

It would make sense that Boylen feels that way, considering the strong relationship he has built with Michael and Jerry Reinsdorf.

But as the firing of former general manager Gar Forman showed two weeks ago, this is not solely a Reinsdorf production.

Michael Reinsdorf admitted that he and his father put the final stamp on decisions, but he also said good ownership moves out of the way and allows basketball people to make basketball decisions.

There has been a lot of organizational dysfunction behind the curtains the last few seasons, and the cleanup by Karnisovas — along with Eversley — likely will include the coaching offices, no matter how confident Boylen feels about a return.

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