As leading scorer Zach LaVine and veteran Thad Young held season-ending Zoom media sessions, each was asked whether Boylen had done enough to deserve to be retained by new executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley.
Neither LaVine nor Young stumped for Boylen, who has two years left on his contract and is trying to impress his new bosses.
"I’m going to keep the same stance I always have," LaVine said. "It’s not for me to judge somebody. I think he goes out there and does his best. I don’t think anybody in any organization in the NBA goes out there and tries to fail. Sometimes it’s out of your power on win-loss record or what happens during the game. I know for a fact he’s tried and done his best, and that’s all you can ask for sometimes. As a player, I just go out there and follow the lead and go out there and do my job. On decisions and things like that, I leave that up to higher management. That’s not my role in the organization. I think you know I was going to answer that correctly."
Young also took a rather disinterested approach to the subject of Boylen's future.
"That’s not really a question for me to answer," Young said. "I think that’s more up to the front office. Obviously, Jim is very energetic. He’s probably one of the most energetic coaches I’ve played for. My job is to go out there and basically help lead this team to try to win games and play to the best of my ability each night. It’s the same for each guy down the line. I don’t think that’s a question for me to answer. That’s something you’ll have to ask Marc and Arturas and let them answer.
"For me, my job is to go out there and whatever coach I have at the time, let him lead and we follow. He’s giving us the game plan and go out there and execute the game plan to the best of our abilities and make sure that we’re playing as hard as we can. And for me, make sure the locker room stays together and make sure I help lead the guys and be very encouraging towards the guys."
LaVine and Young are among a handful of players who didn’t see eye to eye with Boylen at various moments this past season, which for the Bulls officially ended Thursday when the NBA revealed its 22-team restart plan for late July that didn’t include Chicago. LaVine and Boylen clashed publicly after LaVine felt Boylen singled him out with an unfair early substitution in a loss in November, and Young desired more minutes than what he was receiving for a long stretch.
It’s that sort of feedback – and much that we haven’t glimpsed or heard publicly – that Karnisovas and Eversley have been seeking in meetings with players over the past month or so. The player feedback on Boylen has been mixed, and the expectation is the Bulls will part ways with Boylen at some point this offseason, the Sun-Times reported.
Boylen is 39-84 (.317) across parts of two seasons leading the Bulls, who just finished a 22-43 campaign in which they were 11th in the East.
As for Bulls players, they’re about to settling in for a long offseason. With the NBA schedule pushed back due to the coronavirus, training camp isn’t set to start until next November.
LaVine will turn his attention fully to the future after putting this disappointing season in the rearview mirror.
"I mean it sucks," LaVine said of the Bulls not making the playoffs or even being good enough to be involved in the restart. "You’ve got to understand that it’s a weird time, especially with everything that’s going on right now, but it’s upsetting too. We weren’t even good enough to get into the play-in game, so it’s upsetting and it just shows that we’ve got to do a lot of things differently to get ourselves that recognition to get to that spot."