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Report: Bulls to ask GM candidates to keep open mind on Jim Boylen

Bulls coach Jim Boylen

MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 08: Head coach Jim Boylen of the Chicago Bulls reacts against the Miami Heat during the first half at American Airlines Arena on December 08, 2019 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

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The Bulls plan to hire a new general manager to replace Gar Forman. But Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson and president/CEO Michael Reinsdorf aren’t going anywhere.

And maybe neither is coach Jim Boylen.

K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago:

Boylen continues to receive strong backing from both Paxson and ownership.

While placing the contingency that Boylen must be retained could limit the pool of candidates, NBC Sports Chicago previously reported that Michael Reinsdorf, who is leading the search, is expected to ask potential candidates to keep an open mind on retaining Boylen. If the preferred target candidate insists otherwise, that’s not expected to be a dealbreaker.

Imagine you’re in a job interview and the employer indicates a preference for how you’d proceed if you got the position. Are you really going to suggest a contrary plan? Maybe you’d still get the job based on other attributes, but that aspect would probably hurt your chances.

Once on the job, a new general manager would also save political capital by keeping Boylen. If the new general manager hires a new coach who fails that’d reflect far more negatively on the general manager than if the general manager keeps Boylen and Boylen fails. Essentially, hiring a new coach accelerates the clock on the general manager getting judged.

It’s probably not coincidence, hired after Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor expressed affection for keeping Ryan Saunders, new Timberwolves president Gersson Rosas kept Saunders following a coaching search. Maybe Rosas would’ve landed on Saunders, anyway. But in a big world full of coaching candidates, that’s tough to believe.

An established executive like Sam Presti would likely get more latitude to hire a new coach. But I doubt the Bulls would pay enough to lure Presti from the Thunder.

Most likely, this suggestion only pushes Chicago further toward a limited pool of candidates.

All this for Boylen? The defining characteristics of his tenure are oddly timed timeouts and clashing with his players. Boylen gets too much grief for his timeouts, but he also hasn’t done enough positively as a coach to drown out the timeout noise. His relationship with players is legitimately concerning.

Also: If Boylen holds such strong support from Paxson and ownership, that might indicate something about Doug Collins’ standing in the organization.