Bulls fans have been speaking loud and clear since even before the coronavirus shutdown.
They aren’t asking for a coaching change, they’re demanding one. Fair or unfair, the fans want Jim Boylen out.
As the Sun-Times has reported, Boylen’s fate was all but sealed after a handful of players — including several of their better ones — painted a less than flattering picture of him to new executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas in individual calls Karnisovas made upon taking the job.
Add in several other behind-the-scenes waves, the fact that new regimes almost always want their own guy in the coaching chair and Boylen’s .317 winning percentage, and it doesn’t look great for Boylen once the Bulls can start talking with candidates rather than using back channels.
As also was reported, the wild card in all of this is chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who could make the call to save Boylen.
That’s very unlikely, however, considering multiple high-ranking sources in the organization said ownership and former vice president of basketball operations-turned-adviser John Paxson trust the new front office to make the right decisions.
So expect a new-look coaching staff for the 2020-21 season.
The ideal scenario would involve Reinsdorf showing he can put his emotions behind him and allowing Karnisovas to hire the best candidate out there: Tom Thibodeau.
The likely scenario is that the Bulls will stick to their wish list and go after 76ers assistant Ime Udoka first, then Raptors assistant — and former Bulls assistant — Adrian Griffin second.
And that’s not the only ideal scenario vs. likely scenario the Bulls will deal with this offseason:
Ideal: Land a top-three pick in the NBA Draft lottery.
Likely: It will be No. 7 again.
A top-three pick not only would allow the Bulls to have a chance at one of the very few talented players in this draft, but it also would allow them to show their hand on how they really feel about some players.
If they were to select shooting guard Anthony Edwards, it would be as insurance for Zach LaVine’s eventual departure in two years. If they were to go with LaMelo Ball, it would say they don’t think Coby White is the point guard of the future. And if they were to pick 7-1 center James Wiseman, it would mean Wendell Carter Jr. would be left to battle Lauri Markkanen at power forward.
Who will be there for them at No. 7? Possibly small forward Isaac Okoro, who is already an elite defender, or point guard Tyrese Haliburton, who has some weaknesses but understands winning basketball.
Ideal: The NBA sets up a draft-determining summer league for the eight teams out of the restart.
Likely: Extended training camp for the eight teams left out.
A competitive format would be a no-brainer financially and in terms of intrigue. Taking the eight teams left out and having them play in Las Vegas to determine the draft order would be the right thing for the NBA to do.
Instead, get ready for a month of extra camp in September in the friendly confines of the Advocate Center. Get the intrasquad pinnies ready.
Ideal: LaVine gets Markkanen out to Los Angeles for a two-week boot camp.
Likely: They won’t see each other until team activities in Chicago.
It would be great for LaVine to pick out a remote location with no internet or cellphone service and take Markkanen with him for some extreme workouts and bonding.
The reality will be to get the pinnies ready for the two at the Advocate Center.