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Report: Fred Hoiberg lost control of Bulls, including Zach LaVine, who could do whatever he wanted

Chicago Bulls v Charlotte Hornets

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 08: Head coach Fred Hoiberg of the Chicago Bulls talks to Zach LaVine #8 during their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center on October 8, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. 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 Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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Early in his tenure as Bulls coach, Fred Hoiberg had problems with Jimmy Butler and Joakim Noah. But Butler and Noah were stubborn veterans entrenched in their ways. The thinking was Hoiberg would connect better with less-proven, more-impressionable players.

Yet, it seems Hoiberg – whom Chicago fired this week – had interpersonal problems with this younger roster, too.

Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic:
Multiple league sources said Hoiberg had lost the team, saying players no longer believed in his system and became increasingly emboldened in undermining Hoiberg’s authority.

what could Zach LaVine pull?

The answer is anything he wanted, according to a team source who said LaVine was given carte blanche by Hoiberg. Internally, there was concern players would revolt more as the season marched on


Most publicly, LaVine waved off Hoiberg’s play call in the final moments of a loss last week. Mayberry also detailed instances of Jabari Parker and Antonio Blakeney showing up Hoiberg.

Did Hoiberg have control of the locker room? Lauri Markkanen’s response seems telling.

Rick Tarsitano‏ of WGN

There is no one right temperament for coaching in the NBA. Coaches have succeeded and failed with varying styles.

But it seems Hoiberg never found his footing. By most accounts, he’s a nice guy. But it also seemed he tried too hard to bend his personality to what he thought an NBA coach should be – and that came across as fake.

His biggest issue: He didn’t win. Players want coaches who help them flourish on the court (which comes with more money, etc.). Hoiberg never demonstrated he could be that coach.

Add his mild-mannered nature, and it was hard for him to command respect.