A decision on the NBA season likely won’t change Bulls coach Jim Boylen’s fate
The Bulls’ new-look front office of Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley would love the season to resume in some fashion to observe the interaction between coach and players for themselves. But even then, Boylen’s road to returning is filled with obstacles.
The NBA is not the EuroLeague.
Not even close.
Still, it had to take heed of the news Monday that the EuroLeague and EuroCup would be terminating their seasons without winners in the wake of the coronavirus.
There were too many moving parts to be concerned about, according to the executive board’s statement, as well as serious concerns about a makeshift three-week training camp resulting in too many injuries.
So it’s straight to the offseason, with the hopes of entirely new campaigns to be rolled out for late September.
The latest on trying to finish this NBA season remains complicated. Over the weekend, ESPN reported that the NBA was settling on Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, as a destination “bubble’’ for the season to resume.
The complex has better accommodations on its “campus’’ than Las Vegas — another finalist — multiple courts and an ability to lock down if something were to go wrong.
Friday could be decision day, as ESPN also reported that the NBA has a board of governors meeting called in which details are expected to be hammered out.
The hope would be to get something up and running before the end of July and somehow decide a champion for the season.
So what does that mean, exactly, for the Bulls?
That’s where it gets interesting.
First of all, it’s likely that the next NBA calendar will be altered, whether the league gets games in this summer or not. The idea of a different calendar has been kicked around several times over the years, but the league always has wanted to stay out of the NFL’s way.
You can expect the NBA to move the start of the 2020-21 season, however, with training camp getting bumped from late September to early December and Christmas Day signifying the tip-off of a new season.
As for these next few months, the league could pick up right where it left off during the regular season, but that would mean 30 teams in the “bubble’’ rather than only 16 playoff teams, which would require more tests and more moving parts to watch.
The Bulls’ restart would allow executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas to check out coach Jim Boylen and his staff during games and glean more insight in order to make the most well-informed decision on his future.
Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley already have had detailed discussions with players and retained personnel from the previous regime and were getting enough mixed reviews that they were leaning toward starting with a new coach.
Ownership and former vice president of basketball operations John Paxson have supported Boylen, but a source reiterated that Bulls president Michael Reins-dorf was by no means trying to influence the front office’s decision and would allow Boylen’s dismissal if Karnisovas wanted to go that route. No questions asked.
So what could save Boylen? A Hail Mary.
His best chance would be if the NBA decided on a leaguewide play-in tournament, and the Bulls actually got hot and made a deep, unexpected run. But considering the team’s .317 winning percentage under Boylen, the likelihood of that happening is tiny.
Either way, like the rest of the NBA, the Bulls’ new-look front office is waiting for a decision to be reached so it can have a better idea on how to go about the expected coaching change.