The Bulls continue to move on from the old regime.
Team sources confirmed that longtime trainer Jeff Tanaka was told by the organization that his contract would not be renewed.
Tanaka joined the Bulls as an assistant trainer in 2008 and became the head trainer in 2014. He had come to the team after eight years with the 49ers.
It was the second major dismissal since Arturas Karnisovas took over as Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations last month. Karnisovas fired general manager Gar Forman on the first day he was officially given the keys to the organization.
A source said the decision on Tanaka was Karnisovas’. New general manager Marc Eversley and Karnisovas promised that each department would be thoroughly reviewed, and considering all the injuries that have befallen Bulls players, the medical/training aspect of the organization obviously was going to come under scrutiny.
Tanaka wasn’t being scapegoated for the injuries, a source said. It was more about the new front office wanting to bring in someone of their choosing with Tanaka’s contract up.
“Just like anything else on our staff, we are going to utilize our time to evaluate everybody on staff — not only players and coaches but also people in the front office,’’ Eversley said earlier this month when discussing the housecleaning process.
But the bigger question is, how does this affect the job status of coach Jim Boylen and the rest of the staff?
For now, it doesn’t.
Boylen has two years left on his deal, and the Bulls are in no hurry to move on him with the reconvening of the season still up in the air. The Chicago Sun-Times reported two weeks ago, however, that once the NBA makes a decision on the 2019-20 season, clarity on Boylen’s future will come quickly, with Karnisovas & Co. moving on from him.
As previously reported, ownership would like Boylen back and have told him as much. But Karnisovas and Eversley already have had detailed discussions with players and other personnel and were getting enough of a mixed bag of feedback that they’re leaning toward starting with a new coach of their choosing.