Fred Hoiberg, who virtually reinvented basketball at Iowa State, will be introduced Tuesday as Tom Thibodeau’s successor in the Chicago Bulls coaching position. Thibodeau, whose inability to communicate with front office executives was widely known across the league, compiled a 255-139 record during his nearly five-year tenure in Chicago, but could only muster an abysmal 23-26 clip in playoff contention. CBS Sports first reported the news of Fred Hoiberg heading to Chicago late Monday night.
Known as “The Mayor” at Iowa State, Fred Hoiberg was well-respected during his ten NBA seasons, four which he spent with Chicago. Upon his NBA departure, Fred Hoiberg spent four years in Minnesota’s front office before heading to the Cyclones to quarterback an Iowa State school that found themselves frequently on the wrong side of.500. The news of Hoiberg’s hiring came as little surprise to many industry analysts, given the close relationship Hoiberg and Bulls general manager Gar Forman have developed over the years. While Fred Hoiberg was playing college hoops for the Cyclones, Gar Forman was an assistant. From there, the relationship between two genius basketball minds blossomed. His deal is around $25 million over five years, according to Yahoo Sports‘ Adrian Wojnarowski, which nearly doubles his Iowa State coaching pay of $2.6 million.
With Fred Hoiberg taking over an experienced roster with Joakim Noah, Rose, and Pau Gasol, expectations of NBA Finals appearances will arise. Where Thibodeau failed to creep into NBA Finals contention during his tenure, Fred Hoiberg will bring more intensity and playing experience to the table, along with a solid front office relationship. Hoiberg went 115-56 with Iowa State, pushing his teams to pound the glass and fearlessly shoot 3’s rather than taking long 2’s. Chicago shot 35.3 percent from behind the arc during the 2014-15 season, good for tenth overall.
For the Chicago Bulls, moving quickly to secure Fred Hoiberg was monumental. With two other teams seeking new coaches this off-season in New Orleans and Orlando, the focus may now be on Tom Thibodeau as the new era in Chicago begins. Now, the front office must concentrate on retaining the services of Jimmy Butler, who helped Chicago maintain a respectable record with his defense and scoring spurts in the absence of Derrick Rose, and keeping their trade options open. Pau Gasol has three years remaining on his contract, but his age and often-problematic knees may prove too much risk, should Chicago wish to finish their first year with Fred Hoiberg as playoff contenders.
[Photo by Joe Robbins / Getty Images Sport]