Associate head coach Jim Boylen has been promoted to head coach.
Fewest PPG Since 2015-16
Fred Hoiberg’s Bulls had one of worst offenses in the NBA since he became coach in 2015-16.
— ESPN Stats & Information
“Decisions like this one are never easy to make, however I felt this was the right choice for our organization at this time,” John Paxson, the Bulls’ executive vice president of basketball operations, said in a statement.
“After a thorough evaluation, I elected to make this move with the overall development of our team in mind. 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.”
Hoiberg was named the head coach in Chicago on June 2, 2015, after spending five seasons as head coach at Iowa State, where the former player was nicknamed “The Mayor.” During his time with the Bulls, he coached the team to a record of 115-155. His 155 losses are the fifth most by a coach in Bulls franchise history.
The Bulls have lost six consecutive games and 10 of their past 11. Chicago’s 5-19 start is tied for fifth worst in team history, trailing only Hoiberg’s team from last season and three of the teams after the breakup of the Michael Jordan-led Bulls: 1999-00, 2000-01 and 2001-02.
The Bulls have been riddled by injuries this season. Denzel Valentine (ankle), Kris Dunn (knee) and Bobby Portis (knee) have missed significant time, and forward Lauri Markkanen didn’t make his season debut until this past weekend because of an elbow injury.
The 7-foot Markkanen is perhaps the centerpiece of Chicago’s rebuilding plan, but Hoiberg won’t be around to see it through.
He finishes his tenure in Chicago, where he played for four seasons and had a long history with general manager Gar Forman.
Hoiberg went 115-56 at Iowa State, including four straight NCAA tournament appearances and back-to-back Big 12 tournament titles.
He replaced Tom Thibodeau, who was fired after five seasons. The hope was that the freewheeling style he used with the Cyclones would work in the NBA and that he would fare better than another former Iowa State coach, Tim Floyd, who went 49-190 in three-plus seasons with the Bulls.
The circumstances were different, but the results were disappointing. Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic were among the departures as the Bulls tried to find the right formula.
Boylen is a veteran, but this will be his first time as an NBA head coach; he spent four years as the head coach at the University of Utah. Over 20 years in the NBA, he also has been an assistant in Houston, Golden State, Milwaukee, Indiana and San Antonio.
Boylen is signed through the 2019-20 season, paying him just under $1 million annually, league sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. It is immediately unclear whether the Bulls will ask him to coach under that deal, or whether he will negotiate a longer-term extension.
ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.