According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the New Orleans Hornets have made a formal offer to Boston Celtics assistant and defensive mastermind Tom Thibodeau.
And what does that mean for the Bulls?
Stein writes: “Sources say the Bulls, meanwhile, have scheduled an interview this week with [Lawrence] Frank while waiting to see whether Thibodeau takes the New Orleans job or consents to meet with them after Boston’s series with Orlando. Other Bulls candidates besides Frank and Thibodeau, according to the Chicago Tribune, are Houston Rockets assistant coach Elston Turner and Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Maurice Cheeks.”
Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald adds: “Dallas assistant Dwane Casey will reportedly get a second interview for Atlanta’s opening. Casey is on the Bulls’ list, but trails Tom Thibodeau and Maurice Cheeks at this point. – The Bulls are not expected to have interest in ex-Cleveland coach Mike Brown. LeBron James won’t want to play in the same slow-down offense. New Jersey might add Brown to its list of candidates.”
Despite the fact that his team still hasn’t closed in on a new coach, Joakim Noah is feeling pretty positive. During a recent appearance on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000, Noah compared Chicago to New York: “I think the difference is we’re going to win a lot more ballgames over there. The future is really bright in Chicago. It’s really exciting to be a part of it, and things are looking pretty good.”
This man just might be the next coach of your Chicago Bulls.
Bulls fans are getting a little antsy about the team’s search for a new coach…but apparently management isn’t. As far as anybody can tell, Chicago’s front office is in no particular hurry to make a decision. It’s starting to feel like waiting for a pizza delivery that won’t show up until the pie is cold and soggy.
But stuff is happening. I guess.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes: “On the coaching front, the Bulls continue to plan to talk to some candidates at this week’s predraft camp in Chicago. One likely interviewee is former Nets coach Lawrence Frank, who also has interviewed with the Hornets and is helping run drills this week. Rockets assistant Elston Turner has told people he will talk to Bulls management this week, although he isn’t considered a leading candidate. Mo Cheeks is, though it’s uncertain when he’ll interview. … Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau, still coaching in the Eastern Conference finals, is expected to draw interest at some point.”
Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald adds: “Unless Phil Jackson or Doc Rivers gets involved, the Bulls’ coaching search looks like a two-man race between Maurice Cheeks and Lawrence Frank.”
Cheeks and Frank? Really? Well, if that’s the case, I hope Frank cleans up his potty mouth first. As for Mo, his 284-286 coaching record may not be that impressive, but he was always a class act:
But what about all those rumors about the Bulls going after LeBron James, and therefore letting James more or less choose the team’s next coach?
ESPN’s Ric Bucher has some thoughts on that subject: “Anyone believing the Chicago Bulls would promise James he could hire his head coach doesn’t know owner Jerry Reinsdorf or the franchise’s history during Jordan’s era. Jordan, after all, didn’t want Jackson to replace Doug Collins as head coach, despised the deal that sent his good friend Charles Oakley to the Knicks for Bill Cartwright and had legendary contempt for GM Jerry Krause. ‘Jerry will never, ever turn the franchise over to a player,’ said one former Bull. ‘Ever.’”
Yeah, that sounds about right.
Of course, Bucher also added this: “That leaves the Cavs, or anyone else, searching for an unproven coach with the potential to command James’ respect by the sheer force of his personality and basketball IQ — in essence, a young Phil Jackson. And there’s nothing wrong with asking James who that might be. He very well might have someone in mind who makes sense. That’s why there haven’t been any coaching hires by New Jersey or Chicago and why Riley floated the idea that he’d be willing to step in for current coach Erik Spoelstra.”
So the wait might be for LeBron. Or it might be a case of waiting for the right coach. Or it might be that Bulls management is being very, very careful. At any rate, I hope you enjoy waiting on pins and needles. The team might not have a new coach for another month or so.
From the ESPN NBA Rumors page: “The Bulls have not spoken with Lawrence Frank yet, but the team is confident they’ll get to interview him for their head coach vacancy. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Bulls have received favorable feedback on the former Nets head coach. The team is in the process of finishing background checks on people they want to interview and they may meet with Thunder assistant coach Mo Cheeks, former Timberwolves executive and head coach Kevin McHale and Mavericks assistant coach Dwane Casey.”
I can’t say any of this buzz has me particularly excited. Frank’s record over his final 2.2 seasons (prior to his dismissal after this season’s 0-16 start) was 68-112. In 2007-08, his Nets went 34-48 with a combo of Jason Kidd/Devin Harris (trade), Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson. The next season, they went 34-48 again with Harris, Carter and various other spare parts (Brook Lopez, Yi Jianlian, Chris Douglas-Roberts, etc.). Sure, they didn’t have a ton of talent…but they weren’t exactly overachieving, were they?
And don’t even get me started about McHale.
If the Bulls were going to fire Vinny Del Negro, I was really hoping they were going to bring in somebody who was clearly and demonstrably better. I don’t know much about Casey, but the Mavericks haven’t fared very well in the playoffs over the past four seasons, three of which ended in first round exits.