MUST BE GOOD WITH PEOPLE: 4 POSSIBLE BULLS CANDIDATES
Arturas Karnisovas, the Bulls’ executive vice president of basketball operations, knows what he wants in a head coach — and it’s not Jim Boylen.
So what type of résumé will attract Karnisovas’ eye?
“In terms of what we’re going to be looking for, we’re going to continue focusing on player development, and an emphasis on player development — someone who puts the relationship with players first and is a good communicator,” Karnisovas said Friday after the Bulls announced they’d fired Boylen. “There are a lot of factors going on in terms of criteria that we’re looking at in a coach, but again, those are the main ones. And we will start the search immediately.”
That search is likely to be vast, beginning with the 76ers coaching staff:
♦ Ime Udoka, 76ers assistant coach: Udoka has been praised as someone his players instantly like and follow. He comes from the Gregg Popovich coaching tree — the same one that produced Boylen — but this branch is considered much sturdier. In addition to the player-development part of the job, Udoka has a reputation as a defensive-minded coach, making him a top candidate for the Bulls. But if the 76ers end up firing their current head coach, Brett Brown, it’s possible Udoka will inherit that job and stay in Philly.
♦ Adrian Griffin, Raptors assistant coach: Griffin’s star might be fading in the wake of serious allegations of domestic violence made by his ex-wife. Even if he’s innocent, there could be too much baggage for the Bulls to touch at this point.
♦ Kenny Atkinson, former Nets coach: Atkinson was lauded for the way he developed some of his players in Brooklyn, but for as much praise as he received, there wasn’t much winning going on. One industry insider said Atkinson is a known self-promoter, so Karnisovas would have some serious questioning to do in the interview process.
♦ Wes Unseld Jr., Nuggets assistant coach: A defensive-minded coach with a Hall of Famer father, Unseld already knows Karnisovas, who was previously the Nuggets’ general manager, and has an eye for talent and development. He understands the importance of player relationships and is regarded by his players as a direct communicator. ✶
Sixers assistant Ime Udoka (with Ben Simmons) might check all the boxes for the Bulls’ job.