CHICAGO (CBS) — Following a dismal, injury-plagued start to the season, the Chicago Bulls have fired head coach Fred Hoiberg.
“Decisions like this one are never easy to make, however I felt this was the right choice for our organization at this time. After a thorough evaluation, I elected to make this move with the overall development of our team in mind,” Bulls executive vice president John Paxson announced in a statement Monday morning. “As a team, I believe it is imperative that we make unfaltering strides in the right direction and build the right habits to help put our players in the best position to evolve not only now, but into the future. I want to thank Fred for his dedication and efforts, as well as for his enduring commitment to our team.”
Assistant coach Jim Boylen has been promoted to replace Hoiberg as head coach.
Hoiberg had been the Bulls’ head coach since June 2015. In more than three seasons, the Bulls were 115-155 under Hoiberg.
The Bulls have been in the midst of a major rebuild since last year, after jettisoning veterans like Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo, and trading Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves for for guard Zach LaVine, point guard Kris Dunn and the rights to the No. 7 pick in the 2017 draft. The Bulls used that pick for 7-foot power forward Lauri Markkanen.
While LaVine, Dunn, and Markkanen all have showed promise with the Bulls, all three have been hampered by injuries. LaVine played only 24 games last season, after tearing the ACL in his left knee. Although LaVine returned healthy this season, injuries piled up even worse, with Markkanen missing the first six weeks with an elbow sprain, Kris Dunn missing all but one game so far with a left knee sprain, and Denzel Valentine out for the rest of the season as he recovers from surgery for an ankle injury.
The injuries and the Bulls’ young roster combined to doom the Bulls to a 5-19 start this season, the third-worst record in the NBA.