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Bulls fire Fred Hoiberg, promote Jim Boylen to head coach

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Stephen A.: Hoiberg was never a good fit for the NBA (1:07)

Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman react to the Bulls' firing head coach Fred Hoiberg after starting the season 5-19. (1:07)

CHICAGO -- The Bulls fired head coach Fred Hoiberg Monday after a 5-19 start to the season, but president of basketball operations John Paxson said the move is less about the record and more about an "energy and a spirit" that the team is lacking.

Associate head coach Jim Boylen has been promoted to head coach to remedy the problem.

"I hope what we can do is own Bulls across our chest better," Boylen said on Monday morning. "I don't think we've owned it very well. And we have a lot to play for in this program and this place. So, to me, that's where its got to go. Who we're playing for, what city were representing, and I'm going to preach those things every day."

Hoiberg was named the head coach in Chicago on June 2, 2015, after spending five seasons as head coach at Iowa State where the former Cyclones player was nicknamed "The Mayor." During his time with the Bulls, he coached the team to a record of 115-155. His 155 losses are the fifth most by a coach in Bulls franchise history.

The Bulls have lost six consecutive games and 10 of their past 11. Chicago's 5-19 start is tied for fifth worst in team history, trailing only Hoiberg's team from last season and three of the teams after the breakup of the Michael Jordan-led Bulls: 1999-00, 2000-01 and 2001-02.

The Bulls have been riddled by injuries this season. Denzel Valentine (ankle), Kris Dunn (knee) and Bobby Portis (knee) have missed significant time, and forward Lauri Markkanen didn't make his season debut until this past weekend because of an elbow injury.

The 7-foot Markkanen is perhaps the centerpiece of Chicago's rebuilding plan, but Hoiberg won't be around to see it through.

"For us to sit here and think that just because we're getting guys back (we'll improve), I think that would've masked the problems that we've seen," Paxson said. "Then we wouldn't have made good decisions going forward. We gave Fred opportunities. And he did a lot of good things for us. But I'm tasked with, (general manager) Gar (Forman) is tasked with looking at the underlying things in an organization. And if you don't think competitive spirit is important for an organization or basketball team, then you're wrong."

Hoiberg played for the Bulls for four seasons and was recruited by Forman to replace Tom Thibodeau, who was fired after five seasons. Hoiberg had been115-56 at Iowa State, including four straight NCAA tournament appearances and back-to-back Big 12 tournament titles.

The hope was that the freewheeling style Hoiberg used with the Cyclones would work in the NBA and that he would fare better than another former Iowa State coach, Tim Floyd, who went 49-190 in three-plus seasons with the Bulls.

The circumstances were different, but the results were disappointing. Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic were among the departures as the Bulls tried to find the right formula.

Boylen is a veteran, but this will be his first time as an NBA head coach. He did spend four years as the head coach at the University of Utah. Over 20 years in the NBA, he has been an assistant in Houston, Golden State, Milwaukee, Indiana and San Antonio.

Boylen said he will add Dean Cooper from the Bulls G league affiliate, Windy City, to the coaching staff. Boylen said he plans to meet with players and coaches individually in Indiana this evening to discuss their respective roles on the team. Boylen also said he would make a line-up tweak from Hoiberg's last game: Jabari Parker will come off the bench and Markkanen will start.

Boylen is signed through the 2019-20 season, paying him just under $1 million annually, league sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. It was not immediately clear if the Bulls will ask him to coach under that deal or whether he will negotiate a longer-term extension. Boylen declined to address whether or not he would push for a new deal, but Paxson made it clear Boylen will be in the Bulls' long-term plans.

"We want Jim to be our head coach next season," Paxson said. "We still believe in the direction we are going. We believe in the young players we have, and we expect them to raise their level, raise their competitiveness as we make this change."

ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.