Don't Tell Me the Bulls Will Keep Boylen Because They "Don't Want to Pay Two Coaches”

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Don’t Tell Me the Bulls Will Keep Boylen Because They “Don’t Want to Pay Two Coaches”

Chicago Bulls

With a new lead executive, Arturas Karnisovas, taking over the Chicago Bulls in the middle of a pandemic/paused NBA season, I can understand why there’s been a delay in that decision on Jim Boylen’s future we’ve all been waiting to see. But like we’ve said a thousand times, delay or not, I’d be surprised if he’s back on the Bulls sideline next season.

After all, the new front office has prognosticated about making the Bulls a player-first organization — going as far as to reportedly involve Zach LaVine in the decision-making process. And these are all things they’ve been widely lauded for despite the on-going presence of Jim Boylen.

… And yet, there’s this, per Brian Windhorst on ESPN 1000 earlier today (emphasis mine):

The one thing with the Bulls … I know that they say they are going to change, but to me, the Bulls always operate with fiscal responsibility. They do not operate like a big market team. And we’re going into a year, next year, where I believe if not every team, virtually every team will operate in the red, including the Bulls.

The Bulls will, very likely, after decades of being heavily profitable will be operating in the red next year. And you know part of this arithmetic is do you want to hire another coach and pay Jim Boylen off. And I know you can you can swear to me it doesn’t matter but the Bulls history tells me that’s a factor here. And Jim Boylen, part of the reason he may get another year is because they don’t want to pay two coaches next year. 

I’m trying my best to take a deep breath, but I can’t hold it in any longer:


As Eli wrote last week, money should not be a factor when it comes to firing Jim Boylen. Whatever is owed to the coach — who is 39-84 in two years at the helm, mind you — should not matter when it comes to pushing Boylen out the door. Actually, I’m not sure that was clear enough. So let me deliver this message two distinct ways: The money *shouldn’t* matter, because the Bulls simply need to do what’s right for the organization, which is inarguably moving on from Boylen. And it *doesn’t* matter, because it’s really not that much money, relatively speaking.

I mean … come on. Boylen’s estimated salary is about $1.6 million. That puts him among the lowest-paid coaches in the league. And frankly, that’s pennies for a franchise Forbes listed as the fourth-most valuable in the NBA earlier this year. GUH! Just thinking about this grinds my gears.

And let’s be reasonable for a second and consider that, sure, for one year, the Bulls will be operating in the red, as Windhorst explains. Well, the words *directly before that* quote included the phrase “after decades of being heavily profitable.” So, seriously, get out of here with that excuse (which is not directed at Windhorst, but rather the Bulls). If you want to sing us a song about organizational continuity or waiting for the right candidate, fine. That’s dumb and I won’t believe you, but fine. At least it’s a reason. But if you’re telling me that a multi-billion dollar organization rather save less than $2M than complete the organizational overhaul they’ve not only so desperately needed but have been widely complimented on since it’s started, then they’re truly lost.

And that’s why I think it won’t happen.

Every single time one of these stories pops up about Boylen, it’s buttressed with his desire to give it another go and the support he may have above Arturas Karnisovas at the ownership level/John Paxson. But then we’re also always immediately reminded that Karnisovas will have the final say in any such decision. And with that in mind, I don’t think there’s any reason to believe he’d hitch his wagon to Boylen, when he can start fresh and hand pick his replacement.

And let me also say that two ways: I don’t think Karnisovas will actually want Boylen as his head coach, based on merit. And I also don’t think it’s very wise for a new front office to spend all their honeymoon capital on Boylen. I never, ever want this new front office to make decisions based on the fleeting whims of fans, but I also don’t think there’s ever been so much unity around such a decision. It just isn’t worth it.

Luis Medina contributed to this post. 

(Photo by Getty Images)

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami