Bulls Still Committed To Jim Boylen For 2019-'20

"Jim’s doing the right things," John Paxson says.

Cody Westerlund
February 07, 2019 - 3:28 pm
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CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- The Bulls remain fully committed to coach Jim Boylen returning for the 2019-'20 season, executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said Thursday afternoon.

Paxson's declaration came as the Bulls have lost 16 of their past 18 games and fallen to 12-42. It also came as questions continue to swirl whether strategic principles that Boylen preaches are in line with today's modern game.

"Absolutely," Paxson said when asked if the internal stance is Boylen will return as coach in 2019'-20.

Boylen was promoted after the Bulls fired Fred Hoiberg on Dec. 3. Chicago was 5-19 with a -9.5 net rating under Hoiberg's direction this season. They've gone 7-23 with a -9.2 net rating under Boylen.

Boylen is under contract for 2019-'20, but his deal isn't so prohibitive that the Bulls couldn't let him go. He's owed $1.6 million if he returns next season, with $1 million of that guaranteed no matter work, according to ESPN. 

The perception in some league circles is that Boylen could be used to establish a tougher culture this season, then be let go. Asked if he in any way viewed it that way, Paxson quickly responded "no."

"Sitting here today, we have every intention (to bring him back)," Paxson said. "And like I said, we’re working well together. Our objectives are the same. All of us would like to, especially on our home floor, we’d love to show our fans --  you know, last night it’s disappointing you don’t win that game. But Jim’s doing the right things and from our seats, he’s promoting the right message to our players and what we expect and what we want."

If the Bulls were to let Boylen go, they could be on the hook to pay three coaches in 2019-20. They still owe $5 million to Hoiberg for next season, though that could change based on when he accepts his next job.

Paxson emphasized the finances will have "nothing" to do with Boylen's future.

"We can't control perception," Paxson said. "I’ll say this again: The only people who really know are those of us in the building. I know that everyone has their contacts and they talk to people, but it has nothing to do with money. If that’s your question, it has nothing to do with money."

Paxson praised Boylen for his work, however turbulent it has been at times with a young team.

"When you’re in it every day with someone, you find out who they are," Paxson said. "And one thing we’re really pleased about and we talk to Jim about this because we’re such a young team, is just the teaching component of the game to our guys consistently every day. That first week with the whole Boston game (a 56-point loss) and that was a bad way to start, but when you’re in it with him every day you see his passion, his commitment, and the care he has for his players and our organization. So we feel he’s doing the right things. He’s trying to get our guys to understand what being a professional is, and to play hard every night and practice hard every day. So we’re doing fine with Jim. Jim’s been great in terms of communicating every single day. We’re on a good page there."

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