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Bulls fire Fred Hoiberg after 5-19 start; Chicago assistant Jim Boylen takes over as head coach

The Chicago Bulls fired head coach Fred Hoiberg on Monday morning in the midst of his fourth season with the Bulls. The Bulls are 5-19 on the season — second to last in the Eastern Conference — and are coming off a 121-105 loss to the Houston Rockets on Saturday.

The team is in a six-game losing streak right now, and is in the middle of its second consecutive rebuilding year. They finished 13th in the Eastern Conference last season. Hoiberg led the Bulls to a playoff berth in the 2016-17 season, but after a first-round loss to the Boston Celtics, they were unable to build on any of that momentum.

“Decisions like this one are never easy to make, however I felt this was the right choice for our organization at this time,” head of basketball operations John Paxson said in a statement on Monday. “After a thorough evaluation, I elected to make this move with the overall development of our team in mind. As a team, I believe it is imperative that we make unfaltering strides in the right direction and build the right habits to help put our players in the best position to evolve not only now, but into the future. I want to thank Fred for his dedication and efforts, as well as for his enduring commitment to our team.”

Longtime NBA assistant coach Jim Boylen, who has been Hoiberg’s associate head coach for all four seasons, will take over as head coach. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that it’s unclear if Boylen will serve as an interim or the new head coach, as he has a contract that pays him almost $1 million annually that runs through next season. Boylen has head-coaching experience at the college level, leading Utah to one NCAA Tournament appearance in four years with the Utes.

The Bulls next play the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET — stream it on fuboTV with the NBA League Pass extension). They then return home for a break before playing the Oklahoma City Thunder and Celtics on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Hoiberg, who coached at Iowa State before the Bulls named him their head coach in 2015, was 115-155 with the Bulls. The Chicago Sun Times reported that Hoiberg was taken aback by the firing, as the Bulls had been mired in injuries all season. Last year’s leading scorer, forward Lauri Markkanen, played in his first game of the season Saturday, and starting point guard Kris Dunn also has only played one game, while forward Bobby Portis has played four games and swingman Denzel Valentine is out for the season.

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