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  • A Guide to the Bulls Coach search, version 2010.

    Well, various signs are pointing to the great 2010 coaching search being just as laborious as the 2008 coaching search. John Jackson reports
    A week after Vinny Del Negro was fired, the Bulls' coaching search is proceeding at a leisurely pace with no resolution -- or a scheduled interview -- on the immediate horizon.
    Which is a little different that was stated after last week's press conference. But of course, that was a week ago, and as far as I can tell, there have been no reports of interviews or really, even the Bulls contacting someone to interview them. So what is going on?

    The source also said Forman is continuing to do extensive background work and research on a number of candidates and won't begin the process of conducting formal interviews until the field is narrowed to about five candidates.

    Another reason for not rushing is that it is possible new candidates -- perhaps even coaches whose teams still are in the playoffs -- could emerge in the coming weeks.

    Waiting could be the prudent move, especially since the current list of candidates with postseason experience is underwhelming. The Bulls are not concerned about the possibility of losing candidates when other vacancies are filled.

    The premium on playoff experience seemingly would eliminate a few candidates -- Kevin McHale, Dwane Casey and Eric Musselman -- linked to the Bulls' search. It wouldn't eliminate Kentucky coach John Calipari, who made the playoffs with the New Jersey Nets in 1998.

    Playoff experience is no guarantee a candidate will get an interview. The candidates with perhaps the most postseason experience -- Byron Scott and Avery Johnson, who each reached the NBA Finals -- don't appear to be on the Bulls' radar.

    League sources said the Bulls have done background work on Lawrence Frank and Maurice Cheeks.

    Although Frank was fired 16 games into this season because the Nets were winless, he had success when the talent was better. The Nets made the playoffs in Frank's first four seasons and advanced to the second round three times.
    So Jackson goes on to name guys with no playoff experience.
    Kevin McHale
    Dwane Casey
    Eric Musselman
    KC Johnson mentioned Tom Thibodeau and Casey today as well

    and some playoff experience
    John Calipari
    Lawrence Frank
    Mo Cheeks

    That have been linked to the Bulls. He says the Bulls don't seem to have interest in Avery Johnson or Byron Scott.

    So basically, I wanted to give a quick rundown of all the candidates we've heard about and what their status with respect to the job actually is.

    Bulls haven't shown interest, and the coaches haven't said much
    Byron Scott said he wouldn't hang up on the Bulls. But I don't see a lot to like there. Yes, he took the Nets to two finals, but various folks said Kidd and Eddie Jordan were the brains of the outfit. In New Orleans, we have this:
    The slacker son of the New Orleans Hornets owner went to Los Angeles with the team and began to grumble about the priorities of the coach. Yes, it was over for Byron Scott now. The old man had crowned Chad Shinn with a VP title and authority on choosing the Honeybees, and even he knew Scott failed to understand the urgency of his plight. With three games in four nights, his franchise in freefall, the coach was planning tee times in SoCal.

    “Yeah, that bothered some people,” one Hornets source said.

    This wasn’t out of character for Scott. His players wanted a more sophisticated playbook, management wanted longer hours and more diligent preparation and, well, Byron Scott wanted to hit the links. To be fair, this was Scott when he was the NBA’s Coach of the Year, and this was him now.
    No thanks.

    As for Avery Johnson, he's got a successful record, but money in hand and recently had harsh words for the Bulls. Maybe sour grapes after not getting a sniff back in 08 when he campaigned for the job. So, coupled with the reports from KC and Jackson, I don't see it happening.

    Coaches campaigning for the job, no Bulls interest reported (yet)
    John Calipari is pretty hard to gauge. Woj reported he had some interest and KC has followed it up too. So perhaps there's more too it than my initial assessment that he was just using the prospect of an NBA job as leverage. His record was pretty meh with the Nets, but then again, it was the Nets. Fired 20 games into the 98-99 season, he put in his dues as an assistant to Larry Brown before landing back at Memphis, so there's something to be said for that.

    He's got a greasy, crooked rep as a college coach, but to me, college basketball is greasy and crooked in general. At least in the NBA he can be honest when paying folks. Of course, with a level playing field in the NBA, where he can't give under the table payments and SAT help to players, it's hard to say what his advantage is. He's not been known as a master tactician over the years, so where's his comparative advantage as a pro coach. I mean, don't get me wrong, if he brings us Lebron, then I say hire him. I just don't know what special leverage he has to bring us Lebron. Recruiting just doesn't seem to be as reliant on sleezy rule-breaking in the pros, and Calipari best qualities as a coach are that he's a recruiter.

    Doug Collins. Wrote a ton about him here.

    Bulls have reportedly shown interest
    Lawrence Frank is getting mentioned a lot, but I guess I don't see the attraction. He went 0-16 with the Nets to start the year, and he really didn't ever get over the hump with some very talented team there. Kidd seemed to more or less quit on him before he was traded, which, while not an indictment of Frank (Kidd quits on everyone sooner or later), it's not a ringing endorsement of his unique ability to get the most out of guys either. Supposedly the Bulls were looking at him back in December. For whatever it's worth, Vince Carter likes him for our job. I always think folks are a lot more cavalier about saying someone is great for another job than for one that involves them.

    Kevin McHale has been doing god knows what since being fired last summer as coach, after being fired as GM. For those of you who live under a rock, he's not doing guest shots on Glee. That's a different Kevin McHale. But yeah, about McHale as a coach, it is reported
    "It was a learning experience," said Carter, who will see McHale and the Timberwolves on Wednesday at the Pepsi Center. "He didn't really know all the X's and O's, but he had a good assistant coaching staff that was helping him out with a lot of plays. He kind of let us run whatever we wanted.

    "He was trying to draw plays, and it was like a little Etch and Sketch. Like a kid just messing around. ... He just gave the clipboard to the assistant coaches sometimes."
    Next!

    Dwane Casey, aside from getting UK in trouble years before Calipari is going to make it fashionable again, just seems like an awkward hire to me. KC reports (from the link above) the Bulls liked his thought processes and defensive ideas, then went out and liked them so much they gave Vinny Del Negro the job back in 2008. I'd be embarrassed to talk to him if I were Gar Paxdorf, and I'd be mistrustful were I Casey. Obviously they weren't blown away by him the first time around, so what's different now?

    Maurice Cheeks I can't really figure why he's on the list. 2 jobs, 8 years, 3 playoff appearances. As much as people on the Blazers board are mad at McMillan, I don't here them asking for Cheeks back. Seems the definition of a retread at this point.

    Eric Musselman Three years, no winning seasons. If the goal is to get us over the hump, he doesn't seem like the guy.

    Sam Mitchel Forgot where I saw him mentioned, but the Raptors were better with him than without him. 8-9 when he was fired, and they finished 33-49. So, um... I guess he wasn't the major issue there. One factor would be how Chris Bosh views him. It's sort of like the Vinny firing looking back. I don't see any real justification for it, except that nobody liked him and none of the principles seemed to like each other.

    Jeff Van Gundy has a documented and good track record as a coach, albeit of relatively slow paced teams. Of course, he had slow paced players like Yao and Patrick Ewing. On TV, he's seemed to say the Bulls should run. Unfortunately, he and his brother have run their mouths regarding the Bulls handling of Vinny which generally doesn't go over well with the Chairman. So while he's said he's interested, I'll take a wild guess and say there's little chance anything pans out. Gave a nice interview on AM1000 recently.

    Guys who haven't been mentioned but I find interesting
    Rick Pitino I've said before it’s pure speculation on my part, but he doesn’t seem as loved in Louisville as the casual outsider might think. I think U of L fans are a little miffed he hasn’t replicated his UK success. Especially since hiring a guy who coached at UK was a tough pill for some folks to swallow in any case. It’d be like the Bulls hiring Chuck Daly or Pat Riley. Also, he got some brad press when he cuckolded the team equipment manager whose wife then attempted to extort money from Pitino.

    So, yeah, it’s all speculation, but there are some reasons to imagine he might consider moving someone if the right situation arose. He’s respected as a good and high profile coach at Louisville, but he’s not accorded the unconditional love or blank check he had at UK because he hasn’t (yet?) delivered.

    I wouldn't want him as GM, but he was a good coach, and perhaps he learned his lessons from past mistakes. Of course, maybe not since he was out cuckolding his equipment manager.

    Phil Jackson sort of took himself out of the market the other day, but his team is still playing. And he doesn't have a contract for next year. So I wouldn't let him go completely unmentioned either.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: A Guide to the Bulls Coach search, version 2010. started by MikeDC View original post
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. Denny Crane's Avatar
      You forgot to evaluate which ones are willing to get into a fist fight with the insultant.

      Otherwise, nice list.
    1. MikeDC's Avatar


      I read here that Kimbo Slice is available. Maybe I should do a workup on him.
    1. MikeDC's Avatar
      So I went through all of that and didn't really venture much preference. I guess I'd say

      1. Three way tie between Kimbo Slice, Phil Jackson, Calipari if he brings an illegal but still written guarantee that Lebron James is coming.

      5. Van Gundy, because he's got personality.
      6. Pitino, because he gets people to willingly lay down for them even after he bones their wife.
      7. Dwane Casey, because I wanted him 2 years ago, even though I think that ship has sailed and it'd be awkward now.
      8. Sam Mitchell, because I can't find anything obviously wrong with him.

      No interest from me in the rest of the bunch I think the Bulls might actually give a sniff to.
    1. Denny Crane's Avatar
      Tom Thibodeau is intriguing. But he'd get fired after a couple of seasons.
    1. MikeDC's Avatar
      I dunno... seems like a lifer assistant to me.
    1. Denny Crane's Avatar
      I think no coach with experience wants to coach the Bulls unless the paycheck is huge or there's no other option. Collins is far better off doing the announcer thing (though that qualifies him to be a reinsdorf GM!).

      Thibodeau might do it to get a chance to show what he can do. He's highly regarded as a defensive coach.
    1. MikeDC's Avatar
      Maybe Mitchell should be ahead of Casey, given his longer track record. The key to him, I think, is probably what sort of relationship he’s got with Bosh. It really starts and stops there. If he’s an asset in getting Bosh, I like him. If he’s not then I don’t know that he’s that differentiable from the rest. And because Casey has the awkward history of not actually getting the job the first time around.

      Also, note that I don’t think any of the first five guys on the list are very realistic, so I guess I’m really choosing between Mitchell and Casey and hoping like hell they don’t fall for Scott, Frank or McHale.
    1. truebluefan's Avatar
      My short list is the same as your list mikedc. I dont have interest in any of the others.

      1. Three way tie between Kimbo Slice, Phil Jackson, Calipari if he brings an illegal but still written guarantee that Lebron James is coming.

      5. Van Gundy, because he's got personality.
      6. Pitino, because he gets people to willingly lay down for them even after he bones their wife.
      7. Dwane Casey, because I wanted him 2 years ago, even though I think that ship has sailed and it'd be awkward now.
      8. Sam Mitchell, because I can't find anything obviously wrong with him.