Bulls earn a ‘B’ in one publication’s offseason grades

Updated Sep 18, 2015 at 2:16p ET

The Bulls were a pretty good team last season, and are betting that the exact same group, along with the addition of rookie Bobby Portis and a new head coach in Fred Hoiberg, can be even better this year.

There were no splashy external free agent signings, and no shiny new roster additions.

But the small tweaks that were made were enough for the folks at Sports Illustrated to give the team a B grade for the work it did during the offseason.

The story of Chicago’s off-season was written before it even began, and nothing that unfolded over the last few months meaningfully altered the narrative. Former coach Tom Thibodeau was headed out, and he was summarily dumped in May. Fred Hoiberg was the expected replacement, and he was installed less than a week after Thibodeau’s departure. Jimmy Butler, a restricted free agent coming off of a breakout season that saw him win Most Improved Player and All-Star honors, was expected to cash in. He did so, to the tune of $95 million over five years. The rest of the personnel moves were viewed as likely to be minor tweaks rather than major shake-ups, and indeed that’s exactly how it played out. Mike Dunleavy Jr., Kirk Hinrich and Aaron Brooks all returned, ensuring that Hoiberg will enter training camp with every player who logged at least 150 minutes last year, plus promising first-round pick Bobby Portis.

This is a textbook “stay the course, change the captain” play by Bulls executives Gar Forman and John Paxson, who are looking to move past ongoing beefs over minutes management with the hard-driving Thibodeau and hoping that Hoiberg can coax more fluid and consistent offensive play from a talented and decorated core that includes Butler, Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol, and Joakim Noah.

(h/t: SI)

Want stories delivered to you? Sign up for our NBA newsletters.Read more