Fred Hoiberg
John Paxson (left) and Gar Forman (right) have been asked to answer the tough questions during this difficult Bulls season (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune)

The race for “Most Dysfunctional Team” keeps getting tighter and tightigher with every passing misstep. From the Phil Jackson-led Knicks to the tanking Kings there have been plenty of discouraging teams. The Chicago Bulls are right up there with their lack of communication and general disorganization. The front office of Gar Forman and John Paxson has yielded mixed results, and can hold much of the blame for this mediocre season. Head coach Fred Hoiberg may be the lamb for slaughter.

It is easy for upper management for to put the blame on Hoiberg, who boasts a pedestrian 73-75 record in his almost two seasons. He doesn’t have the ears of his players either, an ongoing issue that appears will persist through this season. Rajon Rondo has routinely questioned the team’s constant lineup changes. Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade have called out their teammates for lack of effort and not caring enough about winning. Wade has also defended Hoiberg and called upon the front office to answer the “tough questions”, but that seems unlikely to happen.

Now it has surfaced that Hoiberg’s influence with the team is waning significantly faster. Bleacher Report’s Ken Berger says that rival scouts have seen Rondo, Butler, and Wade all blow off play calls from Hoiberg. The scout, who asked to stay anonymous, says that sort of attitude spreads quickly.

“When Fred would call plays on the sideline, Rondo would just flat-out blow him off,” said the scout, who spoke with Bleacher Report on the condition of anonymity. “Wade does it, too. Butler does it, too. … That becomes infectious.”

While players occasionally ignoring plays isn’t uncommon, this feels like a power play. Rondo is known to go off the coaches’ determined play, having done this with Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle. Butler ignoring Hoiberg is especially troubling. Fresh off a new five-year contract, Butler represents the future of the franchise and the lone superstar-caliber talent on the team. If he lacks respect for Hoiberg, then the Bulls will be going nowhere unless changes are made.

The Bulls are a questionably constructed team from top to bottom. The strange trades and confusing free agent acquisitions have left the team a middling squad that will either be a bottom seed and early exit in the playoffs or going home after game 82.


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