The cast has been net wide. Chicago Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley have an expanded list of potential coaching candidates to replace Jim Boylen, which was recently released by ESPN’s senior insider Adrian Wojnarowski.
Former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson was recently interviewed by the Bulls regime, and several assistant coaches currently in the bubble have been in talks with the front office. Those names include Milwaukee’s Darvin Ham, Denver’s Wes Unseld Jr., and Miami’s Dan Craig, according to Wojnarowski.
Atkinson was recently given a double interview by the New York Knicks before they decided on former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, and has been praised around the league for his pace and space system offensively, as well as his ability to mesh with his young players.
Aside from being responsible for the breakout year D’Angelo Russell had under Atkinson in 2018-19, he was also responsible for developing players like Caris LeVert, who recently broke out as one of the NBA’s rising stars in the Orlando bubble. “He (Atkinson) was huge for my development on and off the court really. From day one we were together,” LeVert said following Atkinson being dismissed from the Nets.
The list doesn’t stop there, however. Assistants from eliminated teams were granted access to talk with the Bulls such as Dallas’ Jamahl Mosley and Stephen Silas, Philadelphia’s Ime Udoka, and Minnesota associate head coach David Vanterpool. The latter, Vanterpool, didn’t qualify for the restart following Minnesota’s 19-45 record.
Current Bulls lead assistant Chris Flemming is also being interviewed for the role and, according to Wojnarowski, the Bulls could also meet with other assistant Roy Rogers, who worked with developing Chicago’s bigs this season. Both assistants were appointed under Boylen at the beginning of this season.
The Bulls have no timeline to appoint a new head coach, however many speculate whether the Bulls will have found their guy by the time the eight teams not invited to the restart begin working out and participating in closed scrimmages.
The Chicago job is one that entices many. An attractive market, a new look front office, and a talented, yet misunderstood, pool of talent featuring the likes of Zach LaVine, Wendell Carter Jr., Lauri Markkanen and Coby White all stand out to potential coaches. Also, to add to that, the Bulls will pick fourth in October’s 2020 NBA Draft.