It’s no secret that many Bulls fans can’t stand Boylen, and the proof is that they won’t sit for him. There were lots of empty seats at the United Center this season.
The Bulls didn’t make the cut for the restarted NBA season, and I am … what’s the word I’m looking for here?
Tickled? Yes, I suppose I am that. This gives me time to do something more enjoyable than watching Bulls games. Like working as a county roadkill remover.
Relieved? Sure. To be spared news stories and TV accounts of games about Zach LaVine’s heroic 35 points that, alas, weren’t enough to make up for the shortcomings of his teammates is a glorious thing.
Feeling cheated? No, I wouldn’t say that. I’d probably say a million other things before I’d say I feel cheated by being unable to watch one of the more unremarkable Bulls teams in memory continue to do its “thing,’’ whatever that thing is.
Hopeful? Ah, that’s the one. I’m hopeful that, without the charade of having a potential playoff team, new Bulls vice president Arturas Karnisovas will do what he should have done the moment he was hired two months ago: fire coach Jim Boylen.
Karnisovas clearly has been trying to do the right thing, at least as the right thing is defined in the unofficial NBA Front Office Handbook: Don’t be rash. Give the impression that you’re giving a lot of consideration to your decision. Get the players’ input on the coach’s strengths and weaknesses. Let the coach have some dignity.
But the right thing to do was to ax Boylen immediately. It would have been a mercy killing, delivering the coach from two months of wondering about a fate that already seemed a foregone conclusion. And, most importantly, it would have sent an even stronger message to Bulls fans: Please come back!
It’s no secret that many Bulls fans can’t stand Boylen, and the proof is that they won’t sit for him. There were lots of empty seats at the United Center this season, which did not go unnoticed by father and son Reinsdorf. The paying customers finally have gotten wise about how best to effect change — don’t pay. It took them a mere 20 years to come to this conclusion.
The fear was that team president Michael Reinsdorf would show misplaced loyalty to Boylen the way his father, Jerry Reinsdorf, has shown it in his role as chairman of the Bulls and the White Sox. The loyalty should always be to what’s best for the team. Thankfully, word has trickled out that, although Michael Reinsdorf doesn’t view Boylen as the two-headed gargoyle with hygiene problems that fans see him as, he’s leaving the coach’s future in the hands of the new front office.
Some observers are bemoaning a lost opportunity for more game experience for the Bulls.
Karnisovas didn’t need a restarted season to evaluate Boylen. This is the NBA. There are no secrets. Everybody knows everybody else’s business. Watching Boylen coach is like watching “Hoosiers.’’ He’s the guy who had his players do wind sprints and pushups when he took over in December 2018, and he’s the guy who called full timeouts with a minute left in games because he wanted to continue to “teach” his young players. Fans, opponents, announcers and everybody in the NBA told him to teach on his own time. Boylen is the guy who didn’t put promising rookie Coby White in the starting lineup until the game before the pandemic shut down the league in March.
It might have been nice to see White gain more experience in a restarted season, but not at the risk of the Bulls pulling off a few surprises and Karnisovas developing a tragic affinity for Boylen’s coaching.
So the 22-43 Bulls were not one of the 22 teams to make it to the season restart, and I am … what’s the word I’m looking for here?
Frustrated? Only as it relates to what the team has done for more than two decades. Another lost season. Sigh.
Resigned? No. John Paxson and Gar Forman are finally out of the picture, though it took too long for that to happen. But you have to figure that Karnisovas, by being blessed with two functioning eyes, will be an improvement. How’s that for galloping optimism?
Happy? Yes. Happy we won’t have to pretend that the Bulls, by still playing games, have accomplished something. Happy we won’t have to watch more bad basketball. Happy we can watch good teams compete as the country begins to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.
I’ll always remember where I was when the Bulls didn’t make the cut. In heaven.