The Chicago Bulls have undergone a major front office overhaul in 2020. First, they replaced longtime general manager Gar Forman with Marc Eversley, and made John Paxson their new senior advisor of basketball operations. Shortly after those moves, the Bulls hired former Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas as their new executive vice president of basketball operations. They also hired JJ Polk for their assistant GM role, and Pat Connelly as the new vice president of player personnel.  

The changes might not extend to the head coach, however, as the Bulls are likely to keep Jim Boylen in that role, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. The logic behind the Bulls potentially keeping Boylen in place aren’t basketball-based. Instead, they’re financially motivated, as Boylen is not exactly one of the most well-compensated coaches in the league. 

From Cowley: 

According to several sources, there is growing thought that financial concerns the Reinsdorfs have about the 2020-21 season will keep Boylen and most of his staff on the Bulls’ bench… It seems the ”players first” motto Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley were touting several months ago will be pushed aside by money. That would be a small slap to several Bulls players and a large slap to a vocal Bulls fan base.

The fact chairman Jerry Reinsdorf told USA Today last month that his financial losses with the Bulls and White Sox were somewhere in the ”nine figures” obviously painted an ugly picture. Then add in the uncertainty about the 2020-21 NBA season, and Boylen’s .317 winning percentage suddenly doesn’t look so bad to the Reinsdorfs. 

The big potential winners in this — besides Boylen, of course — are the Reinsdorfs, who can continue paying Boylen a $1.6 million salary, one of the lowest in the league for a head coach  

Boylen, who was promoted to the role of head coach following the dismissal of Fred Hoiberg in December of 2018, hasn’t necessarily done himself any favors on the sideline. He has compiled an underwhelming 39-84 record since taking over the position, and he has struggled to win the support of his players. Earlier this year, Cowley reported that the Bulls were likely to replace Boylen. However, the financial fallout from COVID-19 appears to have altered the organization’s course. 

The decision to keep Boylen would likely anger Bulls fans, and players, alike. And while it would potentially save some money for ownership, it certainly wouldn’t elevate expectations for the Bulls in the coming seasons. 

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