City of No Love – Another Coach Walks Away From the Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Tribune is now reporting Doug Collins has backed out as a candidate for coaching the Bulls. In the immortal words of Gomer Pyle, “surprise, surprise, surprise.” In fact, Gomer might be the mascot for this coaching search, as skilled as this search’s execution as been.
I had refrained on commenting on Collins as a coaching candidate because I wasn’t going to believe anything was a done deal until after a contract was signed, given the debacle with D’Antoni. Score one for my gut, ‘cause this one fell through in grand fashion.
The crux of it, if early reports are accurate, would be Jerry Reinsdorf’s inability to pull the trigger. Perhaps he was concerned about the possibility of having to fire Collins again and how that would affect their friendship. That’s how Collins is interpreting it, and let’s be realistic: the majority of coaches get fired. They don’t retire. They don’t quit (though sometimes they give the appearance of quitting). They get fired.
It would be a great irony if Reinsdorf, who likes to keep the front office in the Reinsdorf-era Bulls family, couldn’t bring himself to hire a family member for fear of future alienation.
Mind you, the cynic in me likes the Doug Collins quote in the Sun-Times that ‘ole Jerry was busy dealing with an internal squabble with his other team, the White Sox. It has long been my opinion that Reinsdorf cares a lot more for his Sox than for his Bulls.
But that brings us back to the Bulls and their lack of a coach. Collins had another reason to pull out, since Paxson was still interviewing candidates. Chuck Person and Dwayne Casey have had second interviews and are looming large. Reports are in that Vinny Del Negro has interviewed. Then again, who hasn’t interviewed at this point? That would be Avery Johnson, very conspicuous in his absence. Flip Saunders hasn’t interviewed yet either, but give him a week. If rumors that Flip’s ouster revolved around getting no respect from his players, then I can see why Paxson would shy away. I’m not sure Flip would get the soggy doughnut treatment like Boylan did, but it raises a legitimate point of concern. Well, that and the ubiquitous “commitment to defense” comments we’ve been hearing. Where’s Fratello, who’s won in three cities? Where’s Silas? Is Lenny Wilkens bored with retirement? Hey, he got a Knicks team into the play-offs for Isiah.
We also have to wait for the finals to end before Paxson can talk to a certain Celtics assistant coach. Yes, the old Tom Thibodeau as coach-in-waiting rumor now rears its ugly head again.
We aren’t seeing the Bulls talking extensively to people with a lot of head coaching experience. To be fair, Chuck Person seems to have a good rep and Dwayne Casey (of the main guys still publicly talking, he’s the only one with head coaching experience) may have gotten a raw deal with the Timberwolves, but the Eastern conference isn’t all that, so I have to ask if Bulls management has given up on this group and think they need to 100% rebuild with a young, cheap coach?
If they’re shying away from people with head coaching experience, is there a reason besides money? Was money an issue with Collins? He’s talked about a 3-year contract, instead of a 4-year contract to minimize risk, but what number was getting bandied about for an experienced coach, as opposed to these promotion-bound assistants?
The bottom line is, the Bulls twiddled their thumbs and another coach just walked away. Collins is being nice about it. He’s trying to keep a friendship. Doesn’t mean this situation was handled well.
And for the record, I wouldn’t have objected to a Collins return. True, he has a reputation for slow-paced games and not playing young players. Here, he wouldn’t have a lot of choice, but to play young players and he’s capable of running a different offense. He’s also known for player development. There is also something to be said for a coach, GM and owner who all know each other well enough to work with each other. Of course, at the end of the day, that last statement may have proved itself false.