Bulls could be affected by coaching changes
The NBA’s coaching wheel could end up spinning into the Bulls, although it’s too soon to tell. Here’s a rundown of the coaching news:
STEVE KERR TO WARRIORS: At the surface, this moved seemed to be a surprising snub of Phil Jackson and the Knicks, but it actually makes perfect sense.
Kerr was intrigued by the Golden State job all along, but knew the Warriors’ first choice was Stan Van Gundy, so Kerr figured it was a matter of time before he settled on a deal to coach New York. When Van Gundy chose greater authority in Detroit, the Warriors made another pitch to Kerr this week, reportedly flying to Oklahoma City on Tuesday to meet with him before Game 5 of the Clippers-Thunder series.
Everyone knows Kerr is a California guy. He grew up in Pacific Palisades and made San Diego his home base in recent years. His daughter Maddy is a sophomore volleyball player at Cal, his son Nick is a junior basketball player at the University of San Diego, while another son, Matthew, is heading into his senior year of high school in San Diego. So it’s no stretch to understand why Kerr would prefer the Warriors to the Knicks, even before considering Golden State’s superior talent.
NEXT FOR THE KNICKS: The obvious play would be to take the guy Golden State fired, Mark Jackson, a Brooklyn native who was originally drafted by the Knicks. But that could be a powerful clash of egos between Mark and Phil.
Word out of New York has Phil Jackson interested in mentoring a young coach he already knows well. There has been speculation about Derek Fisher making the Jason Kidd jump from player to head coach. Fisher is still playing for OKC, if you hadn’t noticed. Another name being mentioned is Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue, who played for Jackson with the Lakers from 1999-2001.
Or Jackson might just bring in one of his trusted coaches, like Kurt Rambis or Jim Cleamons, knowing the Knicks could be in a tough spot next season if Carmelo Anthony leaves.
POTENTIAL BULLS ON THE MOVE: If anything’s going to happen, it’s probably assistant coach Adrian Griffin getting a head job. Or maybe Ed Pinckney. There was already a report that Utah asked for permission to interview Griffin for its head coach opening. Griffin interviewed with Detroit and Philadelphia last year and may turn out to be one of the top candidates for the Jazz.
Speculation about Tom Thibodeau leaving the Bulls seems unfounded. The bottom line is he’s under contract for three more years and the Bulls would demand significant compensation to even consider letting him go, so this storyline doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. The report saying the Lakers would ask for permission to contact Thibodeau died out quickly. Joining Phil Jackson and owner Jim Dolan in New York doesn’t seem like an appealing scenario, considering the team Thibodeau has to work with in Chicago.
There has been talk that Jackson might try to lure Bulls consultant Scottie Pippen to New York. Pippen has been interested in coaching, but it’s not clear if he’s willing to pay dues as an assistant (plenty of former NBA stars haven’t). There was probably a better chance of Pippen going to the Knicks if his buddy Kerr was there.
Rumors of Jackson pursuing Bulls VP John Paxson as a coaching candidate doesn’t seem plausible. Paxson has a nice situation with the Bulls (lots of authority, not much responsibility) and he knows he’d probably shatter all records for technical fouls if he went to the bench.
Cleveland could be another potential landing spot for Griffin or Pinckney. The Cavs are probably going to try to make a bigger splash (the return of George Karl?) or try to find someone, anyone, who can entice Kyrie Irving to sign an extension and Luol Deng to stay in Cleveland. Good luck with that.