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News » Chicago Bulls Getting Inside 2008-05-30

Chicago Bulls Getting Inside 2008-05-30

Chicago Bulls Getting Inside 2008-05-30
The Bulls have spent a month searching for a new coach and it may take another month before anyone moves into the office previously occupied by Jim Boylan and Scott Skiles.

But the job became more attractive May 20 when the Bulls won the Draft Lottery even though they had only a 1.7 percent chance. They are expected to take Kansas State's Michael Beasley or Memphis' Derrick Rose with the top pick.

Rick Carlisle was the first to interview for the coaching job, thus becoming an early favorite. But the Bulls weren't enthusiastic enough to make a sales pitch and Carlisle eventually landed in Dallas.

Then general manager John Paxson found a candidate he liked when the Bulls were given permission to speak to Phoenix Suns coach Mike D'Antoni. Paxson flew to Arizona almost immediately and hit it off with D'Antoni.

But the Bulls seemed to have reservations about D'Antoni's lack of attention to defense, which is one reason he parted ways with the Suns. Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf asked to meet with D'Antoni and after a two-hour conversation on May 9, the Bulls felt ready to make a contract offer.

D'Antoni, on the other hand, left the meeting and promptly accepted a job to coach the New York Knicks. That didn't sit well with the Bulls, and Reinsdorf lashed out at the former Suns' coach, saying D'Antoni was "rude" and "misled" the Bulls.

For his part, D'Antoni took the high road when he was introduced in New York on May 13. D'Antoni claimed he and his wife simply preferred living in New York, though many will suspect there is more to the story.

"The problem was, everybody thought I wanted to come to Chicago," D'Antoni said. "I never said that. I do like their roster and I really love the city and the organization. But at the same time, New York was a better fit for me right from the beginning."

The bottom line is the Bulls still need a coach. They are expected to interview former Dallas coach Avery Johnson, while the rest of their top candidates are still working in the playoffs. The wish list includes Boston assistant Tom Thibodeau, Detroit assistant Michael Curry and Utah assistant Tyrone Corbin. Paxson has also interviewed broadcaster and 17-year NBA veteran Mark Jackson.

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: For lack of a true highlight, it might be the 135-121 victory over Denver on Feb. 22. The game was played the day after Ben Wallace and Joe Smith were sent to Cleveland and before newcomers Drew Gooden and Larry Hughes were cleared to play. That night, the Bulls' core group of young players actually seemed enthused about sharing the ball and recorded a rare win over a good Western Conference team.

TURNING POINT: The only candidate is Oct. 31, a harrowing Halloween night in New Jersey that set the stage for a brutally disappointing season. The coaching staff felt the team looked terrific during the first two weeks of training camp. But by opening night of the regular season, top scorers Ben Gordon and Luol Deng had turned down the team's offers for contract extensions, Kobe Bryant trade rumors dominated the locker room and the Bulls lost in overtime to the Nets, the first of four straight losses to open the season. Things never got any better.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: May 30, 2008


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