Bulls assistant Chris Fleming will not return to coaching staff; Maurice Cheeks to shift roles

Bulls assistant Chris Fleming will not return to coaching staff; Maurice Cheeks to shift roles originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Bulls assistant coach Chris Fleming will not return to head coach Billy Donovan’s staff with the Bulls, according to Bulls PR. Assistant coach Maurice Cheeks will also move off his full-time role on the bench but will shift elsewhere in the organization, a move prompted solely by Cheeks’ decision.

John Bryant is expected to move from the back to the front of the bench in Donovan’s staff, sources confirmed to NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson. Josh Longstaff is in the mix to be the new lead assistant coach; he’s not the only candidate in the running for that job though, per Johnson.

Fleming, 54, was initially hired by the Bulls to be the lead assistant coach on Jim Boylen’s staff in 2019. The Bulls retained his services following the hiring of Donovan as the head coach. Fleming also had an “extremely close relationship” with Coby White, who was assigned to Fleming as an assistant during his rookie year, per Johnson.

Cheeks, 67, is a Chicago native and has been with the Bulls since 2020. He’s been an NBA coach since 1993. He’s been on Donovan’s staff since their shared Thunder days in 2015, before Cheeks’ head coaching stints with the 76ers and the Pistons.

In an appearance on the Bulls Talk podcast last season, Cheeks talked about how he’s been thinking about transitioning to a new role for awhile but his loyalty to Donovan and players’ love for him always brings him back. This was Cheeks’ call finally, as Donovan, his fellow assistants and players greatly respect him and know his value. Donovan always has deferred to Cheeks about his future because of respect Donovan has for him.

Bryant has been the Bulls’ summer league coach. He’s been with the Bulls since 2021. Before, he served on the 76ers’ player development and coaching staff from 2016-21. Longstaff, 41, has been with the Bulls since 2020.

Executive vice president Artūras Karnišovas fielded a question about whether or not Donovan’s staff would remain intact last Saturday. Here is what Karnišovas said: “We’ll sit down with Billy, and we’ll sit down with the staff and go from there. Like I said, we have to look at everything. We have to look at everything and come back next year in better shape.”

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