May 11, 2008
The Bulls were ready to talk contract with Mike D'Antoni but never got a chance.
So said general manager John Paxson after D'Antoni agreed Saturday to become the New York Knicks' head coach.
Paxson, who first interviewed D'Antoni a week ago, expressed surprise that D'Antoni wouldn't wait to meet a second time with Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf before accepting a reported four-year, $24 million contract from the Knicks.
that's just pax trying to cover his behind for not acting quickly to sign Mike D'Antoni ASAP.
Here's him dicking around a few days ago:
Paxson still on the prowl
Bulls GM not sold on Suns' D'Antoni
By K.C. Johnson | Tribune reporter
11:23 PM CDT, May 8, 2008
Anyone wondering how John Paxson is conducting his coaching search need only return to April 17, the day he fired Jim Boylan and made his only public comments about the process.
"I'm not going to worry about a timetable," Paxson said then.
That across-the-board philosophy even applies to former Coach of the Year winners like Mike D'Antoni, who no doubt would have enjoyed celebrating his 57th birthday Thursday with a contract offer.
Instead, unfazed by media reports that the Knicks were preparing a large offer to D'Antoni, Paxson has made it clear to the Suns coach's camp that he still plans to interview other candidates.
Paxson interviewed D'Antoni over parts of Sunday and Monday in Phoenix. Those familiar with Paxson's reaction said he liked the gregarious D'Antoni personally and is intrigued by certain ideas on using Bulls personnel.
But the same issues that plagued D'Antoni's basketball relationship with Suns GM Steve Kerr—lack of attention to defense, practice habits—are giving Paxson pause beyond possible financial concerns. He will likely seek around the $8.5 million the Suns still owe him over two years.
That's why Paxson still plans to interview people like Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau and Pistons assistant Michael Curry, although the latter isn't expected to be given permission from GM Joe Dumars.
What that meant at that time was that Paxson was going to take his time and interview all the possible candidates, including Tom Thibodeau, who will not be available until the Celtics playoff run is over. There's no sense of urgency from the Bull's standpoint, which was a mistake IMO. More here:
D'Antoni remains in Bulls' holding pattern
May 9, 2008
BY BRIAN HANLEY firstname.lastname@example.org
It's a good thing the Phoenix Suns did not give Mike D'Antoni a deadline of today to find another job, as initially was believed, because the future of the Suns' soon-to-be-former coach did not become any clearer Thursday.
The Bulls, who remain very much interested in D'Antoni, have yet to extend him a contract offer. A source close to the team's search said general manager John Paxson is sticking to his plan and not worrying about how much time it takes for the process to play out -- even if a bona fide candidate such as D'Antoni is hired elsewhere while Paxson is interviewing others.
Warren LeGarie, D'Antoni's agent, did not meet with New York Knicks president Donnie Walsh on Thursday during a stopover in New York on his way home to San Francisco from Greece. The two might have spoken on the telephone, and Walsh is said to be torn as he tries to decide between D'Antoni and Mark Jackson, both of whom have interviewed with Walsh.
Paxson is believed to remain interested in talking with Avery Johnson, who was fired by the Dallas Mavericks last week, as well as some assistant coaches on playoff teams, such as the Boston Celtics' Tom Thibodeau.
Johnson interviewed with Walsh on Tuesday in Houston, and Thibodeau's name also has come up in connection with the Knicks. The Celtics have yet to grant Thibodeau permission to talk with any team because coach Doc Rivers does not want any distractions during Boston's postseason run.
Great. Now the Bulls have all the time in the world to talk to Avery Johnson, Tom Thibodeau, Michael Curry and reject Mark Jackson.