Jimmy Butler’s comments about coach Fred Hoiberg have received great attention in the media, and for good reason. It’s one thing for an all-star player to question his coach. It’s another thing entirely when that coach is a new hire from college, just signed a five-year contract, and might share a bunk bed with Gar Forman.
This is yet another tale in the long-running saga of the Chicago Bulls’ front-office and management dysfunction. Nothing will probably come of it, because nobody never does nothing like Gar Forman doesn’t, but as a Bulls fan that witnessed the organization dismantle a dynasty once, I’m not sure I’ll ever feel OK when it comes to this team and the way it’s run.
Nick Friedell did a great job iterating the importance of this in the above link, but I had a few more thoughts to extrapolate from this.
- Butler should know that Hoiberg isn’t likely to go anywhere, right? Financial commitment aside, he’s literally this front office’s hand-picked golden boy.
- So if we assume Butler knows this, there can only be two motivations behind his comments: either he feels Hoiberg is malleable and welcome to criticism, or he wants to piss people off and get traded. Obviously one of those options is frown-town.
- How the front office reacts to this is critical. While it’s important to have the coach and system you want in place, talent wins championships. Period. Jimmy Butler is the best Bulls player since the 90s, and keeping him happy needs to be the highest of priorities.
- This highlights what I thought was a questionable coaching change. I understand that Tom Thibodeau had faults, but he had undeniable strengths as well. None of his players ever called him out. His minutes management was archaic, but he got pretty great results overall. While Hoiberg had a decent college pedigree, that has not proven to be successful in the NBA a good percentage of the time.
- I think the luckiest thing about this situation is that Billy Donovan has been so terrible so far that it’s kept Hoiberg’s shakiness out of the spotlight.
- I haven’t lost hope with Hoiberg, but I think it’s obvious that he still has a lot of learning to do. Hopefully everyone ends up understanding this in the end.
- I have a slight (very slight) panic that Butler could be traded, if only because that absolutely sounds like something this organization would do. And it would likely be the dumbest move in recent NBA history.