The Chicago Bulls are set to hire Fred Hoiberg as head coach to replace Tom Thibodeau and reports have him agreeing to a five-year deal to leave Iowa State and this comes as the team has to sign Jimmy Butler to a max contract extension this offseason.
The Bulls let go of Thibodeau last week despite making the playoffs once again, with the front office citing differences in approach as the main reason for the split. According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, Hoiberg has a "deal in place" for five years with the Bulls and the salary is reportedly in the $25 million range over five seasons. Hoiberg is the head coach at Iowa State and he has been reportedly a main target for the Bulls since last season.
Thibodeau and the Bulls have not been getting along for quite some time according to reports in the Chicago Tribune and many in the organization saw the writing on the wall about the move. Chicago Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf released a statement after the decision about Thibodeau and it was very descriptive about the problems between the front office and the coach. The team added that the culture of the team needed to change and now it looks like Hoiberg is coming in to take over.
Isola reports that sources have said that the "parameters" of the contract with Hoiberg were talked about while Thibodeau was still the coach of the Bulls. GM Gar Forman said that the team is not currently addressing "specific names" for the coaching position, but that the team wants someone who is an "open and creative learner" and leader.
Thibodeau was in limbo following the playoffs loss for the Bulls against the Cavaliers and there was speculation that the team could trade him for draft compensation. Thibodeau now is owed money by the Bulls and that could offset if he takes another job. According to KC Johnson at the Chicago Tribune, Thibodeau may sit out next season and not take any job, as "several confidants" have said that the firing by the Bulls and the subsequent news release "hurt" Thibodeau.
Butler is set to be a restricted free agent and he is expected to get a max contract after previously turning down an extension. According to ESPN.com, Butler has said that his hope is to stay in Chicago and while there is a chance that a team could give him a big offer sheet, the Bulls reportedly will match any offer that he gets. Butler set career highs this season and established himself as one of the best young players in the league while winning the most improved player award.
Hoiberg makes the move after a run of success at Iowa State with the Cyclones and the Isola report says he "recently needed a second heart surgery" and is "waiting to be cleared by doctors before accepting the job" in Chicago. Hoiberg previously played for the team for four years and he also has a connection with Gar Forman from when he was a player at Iowa State. Hoiberg now is making the move after a heavy amount of speculation that he could make the jump to the pros from college like Billy Donovan did this year with the Thunder. The Bulls were disappointed at their playoffs loss to the Cavaliers and now the main priority is signing Jimmy Butler this offseason.