'Very Possible' An Extension Is On Tap For Boylen

It appears the Bulls view Jim Boylen as the long-term answer at head coach.

Cody Westerlund
April 11, 2019 - 3:05 pm
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CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- It appears more and more likely that the Bulls view coach Jim Boylen as the long-term answer for their organization and not just a short-term stopgap in their rebuild.

Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson has already approach ownership about committing to Boylen on a long-term contract, Paxson said at the team's end-of-season press conference Thursday afternoon.

Boylen is under contract for 2019-'20, with about $1 million of a $1.6-million deal already guaranteed, according to an ESPN report.

"It’s very possible," Paxson said when asked if the Bulls will extend Boylen before the start of next season. "It’s very possible. In fact, I’ve spoken to both Jerry (Reinsdorf) and Michael (Reinsdorf) about addressing that, and I don’t know what the timing will be, but I envision Jim being our coach here and us committing to him, yes."

Boylen led the Bulls to a 17-41 mark after being promoted on Dec. 3 following the firing of Fred Hoiberg. It marked his first head coaching job in the NBA. In Boylen's seventh day on the job, several players raised the idea of boycotting a practice that was called following a back-to-back set of games, a development that led to frustrations being aired on long team meetings. The episode drew national notoriety for the Bulls.

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Nevertheless, Paxson had high praise for Boylen's work with a young, injury-plagued group amid a 22-60 season for the team.

"What I’ve seen is his ability to show these guys he genuinely cares about them," Paxson said. "His goal is to get them better as individuals. I’m the first to admit that first week was like dynamite blowing up. It was a rocky week. What I’ve seen since then is a guy who embraces this challenge. He embraces the individuals he’s coaching. He really does view himself as a teacher, a guy who wants to connect with the players. Sometimes, you have to be demanding and hard. I still believe that you can demand as a head coach as long as you show these guys that you’re doing it because you care about them and you want them to succeed. All players want to succeed. I’m just confident. 

"In the four-and-a-half months Jim has been the head coach, he and I have had more dialogue together about everything than I had with any of the other guys probably combined. There’s been a rhythm to it. He’s receptive to a lot we talk about. (Advisor) Doug Collins has been terrific for him. They communicate all the time, and Doug’s wisdom and expertise as a coach has been really valuable. I’ve seen some really good things. It goes back to what I see in this building every day and what I see on the road and how he’s approaching situations. Nobody is perfect. I rub people the wrong way sometimes in this office. Jim is going to rub players the wrong way sometimes. Phil Jackson rubbed players the wrong way. The great ones do. We’re going to try to build something here with him as our coach and I’m confident in that right now."

The Bulls haven't yet decided on the future of Boylen's coaching staff, a group that lacked experience after Boylen was elevated to the head coaching role. There's "nothing that won’t be discussed," Paxson said, adding that he'd sit down with Boylen and see what he desires from his assistants.

"We're at a really good place with our head coach and the direction we're headed," Paxson said.

Cody Westerlund is a sports editor for 670TheScore.com and covers the Bulls. Follow him on Twitter @CodyWesterlund.