Coaching Search UPDATE - Carlisle leading candidate, new name: Tom Izzo???

UPDATE - Yahoo! is reporting :

While Rick Carlisle is the leading candidate for the Chicago Bulls coaching job, multiple league sources say that an intriguing name has gained momentum within the franchise’s front office: Michigan State’s Tom Izzo.

Bulls GM John Paxson granted Carlisle the first interview in the process, two league sources said, and Carlisle made a strong impression. But Chicago officials were still busy gathering intelligence on him Tuesday, reaching out around the league to those who had worked with him at stops with the Pacers and Pistons.

Nevertheless, the search won’t be limited to Carlisle. There’s been much internal discussion over Izzo, whom many NBA officials believe is one of the rare college coaches who can make the transition to the pros.

When reached on Tuesday night, Izzo told Yahoo! Sports that he hadn’t been contacted by the Bulls, but sounded willing to discuss the job with them.


Owner Jerry Reinsdorf is believed to have some hesitation about hiring a college coach.

I have some hesitation as well, although from what I'd heard locally (OK, on the radio) Tom Izzo has always been more of a pro-style coach, maybe the best candidate out of those ranks to make the jump that so many have failed at before. -Matt

(p.s.: oh, and TYI apparently had this already. I swear I simply read the original source article on my reader first, is all...) ]

Slam Dunk's original diary is below...

Pax, stay clear of Mark Jackson, Rick Carlisle, Jeff Van Gundy

I know he's been taking a hit over the disappointment of the Bulls' season, but I for one remain firmly in John Paxson's corner. For me, the one mistake he made was placing too much trust in Scott Skiles who deserted the ship when it ran into troubled waters. I look at Skiles, and I look at his eyes and his behavior in his handling of young players, and the word that jumps out at me is psycho. Milwaukee will soon realize what they have gotten themselves into.

Now for the search for a Bulls coach. My advice to Paxson is don't even consider for a moment, Mark Jackson, Rick Carlisle or Jeff Van Gundy. I know that Van Gundy has sent out word that he's not interested in returning to the coaching ranks in the coming season, but that's classic Van Gundy. He's so certain that he's wanted. His grind-it-out system didn't work in Houston and it won't work with this young athletic bunch in Chicago.

Mark Jackson would be a disaster. It's amazing the hype surrounding this guy. It has been the  story of his life. Take it from someone who has observed him up close in New York since he came out of St. John's University as the 18th pick for the New York Knicks in the 1987 draft. He talked a good game, but played no defense, was slow of foot and couldn't hit a jump shot to save his life. Had it not been for the pampering of his coach, Rick Pitino, another good talker, Jackson would have been shipped out of New York a long time ago. There is a reason he played for 7 NBA teams between 1987-2004. This guy is more talk than substance. As an analyst he lacks objectivity and his opinions are suspect and many times are based on personal bias. A good example was the way he tore down Pat Riley and the Miami Heat in the 2006 NBA finals against the Dallas Mavericks when, after falling behind 0-2,  they appeared headed for early elimination. His beef with Riley was the fact that when Riley took over the Knicks, he had the guts to sit fan favorite Jackson and play Greg Anthony who was a superior defender. When Riley brought the Heat back and upset the Mavericks, he changed his tune and suddenly became a big Riley fan.

This guy has no coaching experience and his temperament is highly suspect. He has an attitude and will be a nightmare for any general manager.

Beware of Jeff Van Gundy. This is a guy who, when he became coach of the Knicks, benefited from the presence of seasoned veterans like Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley. This is really a tale of two cities.
When it was obvious that he had worn out his welcome with the Knicks and the stalwarts were steadily disappearing, he quit 19 games into the 2001-2002 season with a 10-9 record.
He is so full of himself that in 2007, after he was bounced in the first round of the playoffs, he told his bosses that he wanted time to decide if he still wanted to coach the Rockets. He had a season left on a non-guaranteed contract. They promptly fired him. He then went to the media and told them that he had told the Rockets all along that he wanted to come back.  Rockets general manager Daryl Morey informed the media that they tried to negotiate with Van Gundy during the all-star break but Van Gundy told them to wait until the end of the season. Peter Vecsey nailed it when he described Van Gundy as a " control freak" and not an "athletically inclined" coach. God help Noah and Thomas if he gets his hands on them.

Rick Carlisle. This would be a dangerous hire. Just ask Pistons general manager Joe Dumars. Dumars made it clear that he, like all observers, was unhappy with Carlisle's stubbornness in not playing Tayshaun Prince as often as he should have. Not only Prince was the victim of Carlisle's indifference, fellow rookie Mehmet Okur, suffered the same fate. It took Larry Brown to implement what Carlisle  didn't and he was rewarded with an NBA title the following year, with Prince and Okur playing pivotal roles. The only player who supported Carlisle's behavior was Ben Wallace. "I think he did the right thing.We won 50 games this season and last season. It's tough to go away from what works for that long. You have to take your time making changes, especially when you have the kind of team we have." Wallace opined. Sounds like the situation we had here with Skiles and the veterans.

The coach I would love the Bulls to have is Mike D'Antoni, he's a winning coach and his style would be perfect for this stable of thoroughbreds we have headed by Noah and Thomas. D'Antoni loves Joakim Noah. He targeted him since 2006 and brought him in for private workouts with Phoenix before the draft when they thought they would have gotten Atlanta's pick at number four. This situation arose from the Joe Johnson trade that Suns GM Bryan Colangelo masterminded. A trade that saw the Suns send budding star Joe Johnson to the Hawks for Boris Diaw and two number one draft picks. The pick was lottery protected in 2006, but it only had top 3 protection in the 2007 draft. But the Hawks got lucky in the lottery and they got the 3rd pick, which meant they could keep it. Phoenix were stunned, but had Steve Kerr moved quickly he could have been able to move up in the draft and got Noah before the Bulls did. He didn't move until near draft night and Michael Jordan did his old pal Pax a favor by giving the pick to Don Nelson who drafted Brandon Wright. I think that late move, or lack of a sense of urgency on the part of Kerr, signaled Kerr and D'Antoni were not on the same page, and I think their relationship has been strained since. Phoenix could have had Noah and the Matrix in their lineup,  running and gunning in this playoffs, but they have to settle for an over the hill Shaq.

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