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Skiles Finished with Bulls?

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jun 7, 2005 3:15PM

How does the offer to negotiate a contract extension hasten a coach's departure from town? It's sounding like that impressive feat may have been accomplished by the Bulls, who could be shopping for a new head coach following the continued deteriation of talks between the Bulls and Scott Skiles. Yesterday, Skiles' agent Kieth Glass let it be known:

There will be no [extension]. It's done. It's enough. There was never a deadline. Scott never gave them one. [Monday morning] I brought it to an end. We've had more than enough time to do a deal.

Chicagoist discussed the issue last week, but we never suspected he'd be hitting the road this summer! Is this the truth or just a tactic to get the Bulls to blink?

2005_06_sports_skiles_jackson.jpgOn the surface, the sides have never been that far apart. So why the heated negotiations? It sounds like the biggest sticking point has been the 4th year of the contract offered, when the Bulls would hold an option. An additional clause would pay out the balance of the contract over 20 years should Skiles be fired within the first 2 years of the deal. Skiles' camp want 4 guaranteed years with no deferred payouts. And of course the fact Skiles has a "camp" bugs Reinsdorf, who has stated that he doesn't like dealing with agents for management, and that includes coaches.

The Bulls could choose to exercise the option on Skiles' current deal and make him coach as a lame duck. Nate McMillen did so in Seattle this past season and saw a dramatic improvement in the Sonics record. But Skiles seems to want no part of a lame duck campaign. And if that's the case, having him around a young team could be detrimental. So the Bulls might not even bother to pick up the option and let Skiles walk.

That scenario would require a new coach. The Sun-Times lists some potential replacement in a sidebar to their coverage, but only one jumps out as a step above the rest. Chicagoist hopes that the tough stance taken with Skiles is being done only because the Bulls have Phil Jackson waiting to ride back into town on his Harley. Could that be what Reinsdorf and Paxon are cooking up? If not, the Bulls could be in some serious trouble.

Jay Mariotti says to drop the Jackson speculation right now, because he'll demand too much money and there's still bad blood from his departure the last time. But since when does Mariotti know anything? Well, sure he's right it won't be Coach K or Scottie Pippen coaching the Bulls. But maybe Jackson has proved he's worth the extra money. Skiles, don't forget, has only coached in parts of 5 seasons and has only gotten past the first round once in his coaching career. Phil's one ring away from having every finger (and thumb) blinged.