When the Chicago Bulls parted ways with head coach Tom Thibodeau yesterday it was hardly the most surprising decision in the world.
The fractious relationship between Thibs and the franchise's hierarchy had long been discussed and, after the Bulls fell at the Eastern Conference semi finals stage, his dismissal was expected by many.
Having seemingly been plotting the move for some time it might not, then, come as too big of a surprise to learn that the Chicago front office reportedly already has a gentleman's agreement in place with the man they want to replace Thibodeau.
Article continues below
According to Gary Parrish of CBS Sports, the Bulls have already lined up Fred Hoiberg for the vacant position and the current Iowa State head coach appears to have had contact with the franchise.
"Sources told CBSSports.com that Hoiberg is the leading candidate to replace Thibodeau - and that Chicago's front office has viewed him that way for months. One source went so far as to suggest a 'gentleman's agreement' between Hoiberg and the Bulls is in place."
Article continues below
Hoiberg has no NBA experience as a head coach to date but it is thought that the Bulls hierarchy are impressed by his basketball philosophy and his focus on three-point shooting and collecting shots at the rim - something the Bulls are well set up to do moving forward through the likes of Rose, Butler and even Doug McDermott.
Hoiberg has been with Iowa State since 2010 and has led the Cyclones to a 115-56 record in that time, as well as two Big 12 Tournament Championships.
He was considered in the running for the Minnesota Timberwolves job last year before Flip Saunders was given another shot.
Having cited a desire for a "change of approach" when confirming the exit of Tom Thibodeau on Thursday, the Chicago Bulls would certainly be taking a gamble on replacing a former NBA Coach of the Year with a man who has never coached in the league.
Hoiberg would, though, likely offer less resistance when it comes to decision making due to such a lack of pro coaching experience. With Thibs having been criticized from the inside for a lack of willingness to cooperate this would be a positive for the Bulls front office.
Moreover, having played for Chicago for four years (1993-2003), Fred Hoiberg already has some familiarity with the franchise should he be hired in the near future.