When Fred Hoiberg was hired by the Chicago Bulls, it was hoped that he would take the franchise to the next level of success.
Hoiberg, who had been the Iowa State men’s basketball coach, replaced Tom Thibodeau, who had guided the Bulls to five straight playoff appearances. But the Bulls are headed in the wrong direction. Chicago missed the playoffs last season in Hoiberg’s first season.
At this point, the Bulls are a middling 23-24, and they are a hot mess. During a 119-114 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, Bulls star Jimmy Butler seemed to completely ignore an instruction from Hoiberg to call a timeout.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
Despite Butler clearly saying the word no (and another word), Hoiberg denied that he was asking for a timeout.
“No, we were going to get it, go down and save that last timeout,” Hoiberg told the Chicago Tribune.
After the game, Bulls guard Dwyane Wade tweeted this:
Butler and Wade told CBS Chicago that they wondered if their young teammates cared enough about losing games.
“I don’t know what happened, but you continue to be in these kinds of situations and lose games like this, you really don’t care enough,” Wade told reporters. “You don’t care enough. It’s got to mean that much to you to want to win. And it doesn’t.”
Butler said in that story: “If you don’t come in this (expletive) pissed off after you lose any game, if you’re not pissed off that you lost, man, something is wrong. This is your job. This is what you’re supposed to love to do, and I don’t think that everybody looks at it that way.”
Bulls teammate Jerian Grant, who is in his second season, seemed to take offense. He took to Twitter and offered up this defense:
Chicago Tribune sports columnist David Haugh tweeted this about Hoiberg’s handling of the team:
And then there was this from Nick Friedell, who covers the Bulls for ESPN:
Yeah, things are not going well in Chicago.