CHICAGO -- The Bulls are quietly confident that Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg will accept an offer to become their next head coach, according to multiple league sources.
News of mutual interest between Hoiberg, who played for the Bulls for four of his 10 NBA seasons and is a close friend of general manager Gar Forman, and Chicago isn't a surprise. He has close relationships with several people in the Bulls' front office and is well regarded for his success in Ames.
The Bulls fired Tom Thibodeau on Thursday after five years as their coach. Thibodeau had two years and almost $9 million left on his contract.
The timetable on exactly when Hoiberg, 42, might formally sign a contract is still being hammered out. While the feeling within the organization continues to be that a contract and introductory news conference could come as early as next week, the Bulls, according to sources, are giving extra consideration to the time frame because Hoiberg underwent open-heart surgery to replace his aortic valve last month.
Bleacher Report and the Chicago Tribune also reported that a deal between Hoiberg and the Bulls is expected. The Orlando Sentinel reported Friday that Hoiberg also interviewed with the Magic for their head-coaching vacancy, but Orlando has named Scott Skiles its coach.
Earlier this week, the Ames Tribune, citing sources with knowledge of the situation, reported that Hoiberg has told at least one recruit that his future at Iowa State is uncertain.