For a team that once won six championships in eight years, the Chicago Bulls have largely been a mess since Michael Jordan left the team. Monday added another embarrassing moment for the team that, other than “The Last Dance,” has had nothing but embarrassing moments in recent years. On a Twitch stream, Bulls rookie forward …
For a team that once won six championships in eight years, the Chicago Bulls have largely been a mess since Michael Jordan left the team. Monday added another embarrassing moment for the team that, other than “The Last Dance,” has had nothing but embarrassing moments in recent years.
On a Twitch stream, Bulls rookie forward Daniel Gafford was asked about Jim Boylen, the team’s head coach. Normally, one might expect a player to praise or at least say something respectful about their boss in public. But the Arkansas product was shockingly blunt about his feelings.
“He aight,” Gafford said. “I don’t like him a lot, but he OK. Got some things he can work on, got some things he can get better at as a person and as a coach.”
Boylen has been a sore subject for Bulls fans – and players – since he took over for Fred Hoiberg in 2018. After he was named the interim head coach, Boylen called for a practice for the day after a 56-point loss against the Celtics, the second of a back-to-back. The players threatened a mutiny and some reportedly reached out to the union.
The front office, then led by Gar Forman and John Paxson, gave Boylen a contract extension just months later. Since he has been in charge, the Bulls have gone 39-84, good for the second-worst winning percentage for a coach in the Bulls’ franchise history (and keep in mind, this team had some truly terrible years before and after the Jordan era).
Chicago fired Forman in April and demoted Paxson, hiring Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley to be the new VP and GM, respectively. Some thought Boylen, who was handpicked by the former regime, would be quickly shown the door, but he remains in the coach’s chair.
The fact that Gafford, a second-round rookie who spent time in the G League last year, is openly criticizing Boylen is just another of many scathing indictments of the coach coming from within the team. According to The Athletic, “more than a few players this season voiced frustration with Boylen’s methods, some even openly mocking him.”
Many have speculated that team owner Jerry Reinsdorf wants to keep Boylen around because he doesn’t want to pay two coaches – the notoriously frugal owner (who didn’t want to pay Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Co. at the end of the Bulls’ dynasty) has publicly complained about the losses stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. But Boylen is one of the lowest-paid coaches in the NBA, and will reportedly make less than $2 million next year.
Karnisovas was given a green light to make a coaching change, but the change has yet to happen. Until it does, it may be hard for Bulls fans to expect anything less than futility going forward.