Who is next to coach the Bulls?

CHICAGO (AP) — There is no shortage of rumors, with a new name surfacing every day as a possible coach for the Chicago Bulls. And there’s a short list, with at least five names on it.
But just who — if anyone — is the front-runner to be the new coach of the six-time NBA champs? Well, that’s anybody’s guess.
“Reading the sports pages makes me not want to read the rest of the paper because at least 50 percent of what I read in the sports pages is incorrect,” Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said Thursday.
What’s known is that Chicago has, or in the next few days will, interview five people, according to a source close to the selection process who spoke on condition of anonymity.
In addition to Iowa State coach Tim Floyd, long considered the replacement-in-waiting for Phil Jackson, the Bulls are looking at current NBA assistants Paul Silas (Charlotte), Scott Skiles (Phoenix), Rick Carlisle (Indiana) and Ron Rothstein (Cleveland).
And while Michael Jordan has been consulted about the hiring process, Reinsdorf said His Airness won’t pick the coach. Jordan has yet to decide whether he’ll return next season, and who the Bulls hire will likely play a big part in his decision.
“Michael has no veto power,” Reinsdorf said. “I said I was going to talk to Michael. Is that saying he has veto power? Of course not. Michael wouldn’t want that.”
Of the candidates, Floyd is the least surprising. He’s a friend of general manager Jerry Krause, an all-important factor after Krause’s tenuous relationship with Jackson. He’s a defensive specialist, also a priority for a Chicago coach. He’s also young, and the Bulls want a long-term coach who can lead them through the post-Jordan era.
“He’s a very fine coach; we think he has done a terrific job,” Iowa State president Martin Jischke said last week.
“I know there have been discussions between the management of the Bulls and coach Floyd,” Jischke added. “Tim has kept us apprised of those discussions. I don’t think those discussions have come to a formal offer.”
But Floyd has his drawbacks. While Rothstein and Silas were one-time NBA coaches, Skiles coached professionally in Greece and Carlisle is a longtime NBA assistant, Floyd has no professional coaching experience.
Jordan has said he won’t play for someone who doesn’t have NBA experience, but he also once swore he wouldn’t play for anyone but Jackson. Which brings up the Jackson factor. It was no secret the past few seasons that Krause considered Floyd as a possible successor to Jackson — while Jackson was still coach. That didn’t sit well with Jordan, Jackson’s biggest supporter, who took to calling Floyd “Pink,” as in the music group Pink Floyd.
The other candidates are not as well-known in Chicago, although all are highly respected NBA assistants.
Carlisle, 37, began his coaching career in 1989 as an assistant with the New Jersey Nets. He spent five years there before moving to Portland as an assistant, where he stayed until former Boston Celtics teammate Larry Bird asked him to join his staff last season.
Carlisle and Bird both played on the Celtics’ 1986 championship team.
Rothstein, a Cleveland assistant since 1993, was the first coach of the Miami Heat and coached them for three seasons. He also coached the Detroit Pistons in 1992 and 1993.
Silas, also a candidate for the Seattle job after George Karl was fired, just finished his first year as an assistant for the Charlotte Hornets. Before that, he was an assistant with Phoenix, New Jersey and the New York Knicks, and he coached the then-San Diego Clippers from 1980-83.
He played 16 seasons in the NBA, and was a member of the Seattle SuperSonics 1979 championship team.
Skiles was Danny Ainge’s top assistant last season, his first as an NBA assistant. He had previously coached a Greek professional team.
Skiles, who played at Michigan State, spent 10 years in the NBA. He holds the record for most assists in a game (30).
And then, of course, there are all those rumors. In the weeks since Jackson made good on his season-long threat to leave, at least a dozen candidates have popped up and dropped off the Bulls’ coaching radar. Karl came and went. So did Kansas coach Roy Williams, who swore he didn’t want the job.
But one of the most surprising rumors to be dismissed was current assistant Frank Hamblen. Hamblen, who has spent two seasons with the Bulls, is a longtime assistant who’s well-liked by the Chicago players, and was seen as a compromise between the Bulls management and Jordan. He also had a short stint as coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.
But Hamblen said Wednesday night he isn’t a candidate and never was.
“It just shows you the power of the media, what they can accomplish,” he said. “I’m flattered by all the attention I’m getting, but in my mind, I’m not a candidate whatsoever.”
Exactly when the Bulls will name a coach is as much a question as who it will be. There’s no deadline, and with the NBA lockout, no pressure to hire anyone immediately.
So the process goes on.
“When we hire someone,” Reinsdorf said, “we’ll announce it.”