Rather than let him finish out a fourth full season in the Windy City, the Chicago Bulls made a shocking announcement by firing head coach Fred Hoiberg on Monday.
The Bulls sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with a 5-20 record, and they're going to miss the playoffs for a second consecutive year. Firing Hoiberg is one of the latest moves from a busy Chicago front office that is undergoing a massive rebuild.
Even though Chicago is in the midst of a downright horrible season, NBA coaches and executives explained to Ken Berger of Bleacher Report why they think the Bulls made a huge mistake in firing Hoiberg.
"Every coach there starts on the same page and then kind of quickly, there becomes a divide," said one executive. "[Scott] Skiles, [Vinny] Del Negro, Thibs (Tom Thibodeau); I don't know where that comes from. It seems like that front office turns on their coaches pretty quickly. They kind of have those factions working against each other.
"It's a mess," one coach added. "What direction are they going?"
It would appear that the direction is simply a rebuild, which began in 2017 after they bought out Dwyane Wade and traded Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves. But firing a head coach that you hired to oversee a rebuild doesn't look good on the Bulls' end. They have a long history of ugly breakups with head coaches, and Hoiberg was the latest to meet such a fate.
"Even before they fired Thibs, we all knew it was going to be Fred, and they only interviewed Fred," one source said to Berger. "They're not taking advantage of the benefits of a search."
Hoiberg leaves Chicago with a 115-155 record. The Bulls went a mere 42-40 in the 2015-16 season, a drop off from the 50 wins this team had in its final year with Tom Thibodeau at the helm. A year later, they squeaked into the playoffs with a 41-41 record, but the Boston Celtics eliminated them in six games during the opening round.
What This Means
The Bulls have a nice young core built around Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanean and Kris Dunn. They'll likely finish with a top-five draft selection as well, so Chicago could turn this thing around sooner rather than later.
But right now, the decision to fire Hoiberg in the midst of a rebuild isn't being well-received by rival league executives and coaches. The Bulls sure as heck better make sure their next coaching hire is the right one.