Ime Udoka: 3 things to know about the Chicago Bulls’ frontrunner

Chicago Bulls rumors suggest Ime Udoka is the frontrunner to be the next head coach.

Over the weekend, reports emerged that the Ime Udoka is the frontrunner to become the Chicago Bulls’ next head coach, replacing the much-maligned Jim Boylen. In fact, prior to the news breaking, our own Vinnie Parise identified Udoka as the man who should lead the Bulls in the next phase of this current rebuild.

It’s important to point out that these are merely rumors at this time and you have to proceed with caution. For all we know, this report could have been leaked by Udoka’s camp, or it might be a case of misdirection on the part of Arturas Karnisovas, who might still favor a guy like Adrian Griffin who has been linked to the Bulls recently.

But what if the reports are true and Udoka is the leader in the clubhouse? What do we know about the Bulls’ possible next head coach? Here are three interesting tidbits about Udoka.

Ime Udoka brings a little “Pop” to the Chicago Bulls

Perhaps the most intriguing thing we know about Udoka at the moment is that he has extensive experience as an assistant on a championship coaching staff. Considering teams looking for a new head coach are always searching for “the next Gregg Popovich” it certainly wouldn’t hurt to bring in someone who was on Pops staff from 2012-2019.

In that span, Udoka was on the sidelines for two NBA Finals, including a championship against the Miami Heat in 2014. During his time with the Spurs, he saw firsthand how a legendary coach like Popovich goes about his business, and coaches in big moments. That experience unquestionably works in his favor, especially for a franchise looking to reestablish a winning culture.

Marc Eversley knows Ime Udoka

Everyone knows that people, regardless of the industry, are often hired based largely on relationships. Sure there must be a minimum level of competence, but often it’s the relationship that seals the deal. Look no further than the Bulls who have routinely hired coaches (Fred Hoiberg, Jim Boylen, etc.) based more on relationships than competence.

This in no way is meant to suggest Udoka is not qualified for the position. It’s merely meant to underscore just how important relationships are when hiring a head coach in the NBA. At the end of the day, the front office is placing their job security in the hands of the head coach. They are not going to do that with someone they don’t know or are not comfortable with.

As for Udoka, he most recently served on the Philadelphia 76ers coaching staff this past season. You may recall the team’s new general manager, Marc Eversley also came from Philadelphia. It’s not very difficult to connect those dots, so you can see why Udoka may, in fact, be the frontrunner.

Ime Udoka appreciates the grind

Whoever takes over as head coach of the Chicago Bulls is going to have to be mentally tough and full of perseverance. In this regard, Udoka may be one of the most qualified candidates. Udoka went undrafted out of college in 2000, and for the next 12 years, he was a part of 16 different organizations in a variety of leagues and at a variety of levels of play.

The Bulls have been trying to emerge from this most recent “rebuild” for years, and it will take a coach with the fortitude to see it through. At the end of the day, that very well could be Ime Udoka.