Chicago Bulls fire coach Scott Skiles after sluggish start

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Do you think the Bulls will make the playoffs and if so, what seed

1. Yes, 3-5 seed
0
No votes
2. Yes, 4-6 seed
0
No votes
3. Yes, 7-8 seed
2
22%
4. No
7
78%
 
Total votes : 9

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 6:31 am
Chicago Bulls fire coach Scott Skiles after sluggish start

Dec. 24, 2007


DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) -The Chicago Bulls were sure this was their season to challenge for the Eastern Conference championship. If they do, it'll be with a new coach.

The Bulls fired Scott Skiles on Monday, hoping to shake up a team with one of the worst records in the Eastern Conference.

"I felt like something was going to happen," forward Luol Deng said. "I didn't know whether it was players or coaches. But you could definitely feel there was something. It just didn't seem like we were on the same page."

The underachieving Bulls (9-16) have lost three of their last four and were booed throughout by the home crowd during Saturday night's 116-98 loss to the Houston Rockets. Their next game is Wednesday at San Antonio.

With three straight playoff appearances after a long postseason drought, the Bulls' expectations were soaring. Then, they dropped 10 of their first 12 games, and they've been unable to capture the intensity that catapulted them into the second round of the playoffs last season.

They've lacked a consistent inside scoring threat the past few years, and now, their perimeter players are off target. Chicago is shooting a league-worst 41.3 percent, which partially explains why it hasn't been able to sustain a winning streak.

"I don't have a long-term solution as of today," Bulls general manager John Paxson said. "I'm disappointed in the way we're playing, the way we're competing, the energy or lack thereof that we're playing with on the floor. I know expectations coming into the year were really, really high and we're not even close to those. I honestly believe we're a better team than we've played this year."

A message was left seeking comment from Skiles.

The Bulls didn't immediately announce a replacement for Skiles, who went 165-172 after replacing Bill Cartwright in November 2003. Paxson said he does not expect to hire a coach until after the season, with assistants Pete Myers or Jim Boylan likely taking over on an interim basis. Myers will coach the team against the Spurs.

Chicago is in a familiar spot with this season's slow start.

The Bulls dropped their first nine in 2004-05 and were 4-15 before going on a surge that led to 47 wins and their first playoff appearance since the Michael Jordan era. They needed a late surge the next season to make it to the playoffs, winning 12 of their final 14 regular-season games to finish with 41 wins.

And with high expectations following the arrival of Ben Wallace, the Bulls promptly dropped nine of their first 12 last season before turning things around. They wound up with 49 wins and swept Miami to capture a playoff series, then lost in six games to Detroit in the second round.

There were no major acquisitions in the offseason. Instead, the most notable moves were the ones the Bulls did not make - contract extensions for Ben Gordon and Deng and a blockbuster trade for Kobe Bryant.

And Deng finally acknowledged the negotiations and trade talk may have weighed down the team.

"I keep saying the whole idea that the contract thing isn't a big deal with me, but it's getting to a point where I don't know," he said. "It's not like I came in and said I'm not going to play hard. It's a life-changing decision. When I made the decision, I decided that I'm just going to play. It became part of it because that's what people kept talking about. We struggled and they kept coming up."

He called Skiles "a great coach" but the effort wasn't there - particularly the past few games. Whether this wakes them up or is just the start of a shake-up remains to be seen.

"It's a lot on our shoulders right now," Deng said.

Skiles and the Bulls nearly parted ways in June 2005. Instead, he agreed to a four-year, $16.5 million contract extension after talking with owner Jerry Reinsdorf.

"I wouldn't say we stopped playing for Scott," guard Kirk Hinrich said. "Every time I go out there, I'm playing for my teammates, my coaches. We should all be in this together."

Now, the critical eye might turn toward Paxson, even though he built the Bulls into a playoff team.

He made a big splash before last season when he signed Wallace to a four-year, $60 million deal, but that move has not paid dividends. The same goes for the draft night trade in 2006 in which he sent the rights to LaMarcus Aldridge to Portland for Tyrus Thomas.

Aldridge is averaging 18.5 points and 7.7 rebounds, and Thomas has been in and out of the rotation.

"I never absolve myself from responsibility," Paxson said. "We all felt confident we had a team that was going to be pretty good this year. Our players now are put in a position where they have to look in the mirror and see what they can do to get this back on track. The message wasn't being received by them. A lot of the pressure is on them right now."


_____________________________________________________________



Bit late but really wanted to discuss the state of the Bulls. It ws probably better for Skiles to go but the lack of success this season of the Bulls is perhaps the biggest surprise. They are pretty loaded with talent but many of their players have just not performed to their usual rate.

It will take a huge turnaround for them to make the playoffs and I don't think they will
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 6:34 am
The best they can hope for is to make a few moves for next season. Looking for a good coach (Paxson has that he'll wait til the offseason) and getting somebody able to score inside, even if it means trading a few of their young guys.

This season is over already, barring a miracle recovery.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 6:47 am
Reckon Hinrich is going to be on the block. He has been a total disappointment this season. They would probably like to get rid of BWallace's highly paid contract as well as he is producing enough to come close to the money he is getting. Going for Gasol might be their best bet still
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 6:54 am
And Deng has had back problems all season long, Ty Thomas looks even less focused than last year... Everybody should be on the block for the right price.

Luol Deng should be their most "untouchable" guy... and only to a certain extent. If they had to part ways with him to get Kobe, there's not a single reason to keep him (it was just an example. I know it won't happen).
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 6:59 am
They should keep Deng. If they can get Gasol with only Gordon (doubtful as the Grizz have Gay and Miller that play some SG) and Hinrich, they should do it. They could then try using BWallace and/or one of their other young guys to get a SG and Duhon can be their PG, if they don't get one in the upcoming draft
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 8:46 am
I think that they have dug themselves into too big of a whole this early in the season. They have no trust in each other, and that is where it falls apart. They do have enough talent for the playoffs, but not this year.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 9:21 am
The Bulls aren't willing to part with Luol Deng... and that has haulted their chances at aquiring a legit big man. They had to comically overpay for Ben Wallace, via free agency, to even have anything respectable in the middle (and even Ben in offensively-retarded).

Deng is a stud, but if you can get a Pau Gasol, an Andrew Bynum, or something of the like in return for it, you do it. They're set at the 4 spot, with Tyrus Thomas and Jokim Noah. Their guards are talented (Gordon, Hinrich, Duhon). And they have a logjam of two start-worthy players at SF (Deng and Nocioni). While I (like Paxon, undoubtably) would rather part with Nocioni, I don't see any teams surrendering workable big men for him... something I can see happening for Luol Deng.

If the Grizzlies are truly set on rebuilding, trade them Joe Smith, Luol Deng, Chris Duhon, and this year's first rounder in exchange for Pau Gasol. Duhon's an expirer worth $3.5 million per season. Smith will expire in two years and leave them with $5 million/year more. That gives them another $8.5 million/year of salary relief in two seasons, plus Luol Deng, in return for the disgruntled Gasol. If Pau gets healthy before the trade deadline, this might shake things up enough for the Bulls to make the post season. I can't see anything else saving their season.

But, as I said, Paxon is intent on keeping Deng, so who knows...
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 2:58 am
They have alot of talent and seems like this upcoming draft is a very good one so they could well get a real good player and bounce right back into the playoffs next season. They do need one good trade though
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 5:11 am
TMC wrote:And Deng has had back problems all season long, Ty Thomas looks even less focused than last year... Everybody should be on the block for the right price.

Luol Deng should be their most "untouchable" guy... and only to a certain extent. If they had to part ways with him to get Kobe, there's not a single reason to keep him (it was just an example. I know it won't happen).


There other untouchable guy should have been LaMarcus Aldridge...he seems to fit a necessary piece. I don't think they should have traded him away
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 5:15 am
sleandres wrote:There other untouchable guy should have been LaMarcus Aldridge...he seems to fit a necessary piece. I don't think they should have traded him away


Yeah, but as he was traded on draft day for Ty Thomas, he's no part of the puzzle right now.

Of course, given how those two kids have developed, it was a clear mistake by the Bulls front office.

It's curious how Paxon isn't taking more heat. He's as much to blame as Skiles.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 5:17 am
If Paxson doesn't make moves that make that team a winner, he'll be sacked within two years
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 6:01 pm
TMC wrote:
sleandres wrote:There other untouchable guy should have been LaMarcus Aldridge...he seems to fit a necessary piece. I don't think they should have traded him away


Yeah, but as he was traded on draft day for Ty Thomas, he's no part of the puzzle right now.

Of course, given how those two kids have developed, it was a clear mistake by the Bulls front office.

It's curious how Paxon isn't taking more heat. He's as much to blame as Skiles.


I agree...but the coach is usually the firs to go. I don't think Paxson will even have 2 more years.

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