By Randall Hampton on May 17, 2014
The relationship between Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau and GM Gar Forman has been rocky to say the least over the past few seasons. The fracture returned to the forefront amid speculation that the Los Angeles Lakers want to speak with Thibodeau about the team’s head coaching vacancy. If Thibodeau walks, here are five coaches that the Bulls should consider as a replacement.
George Karl is an intriguing name considering he has won 60 percent of his games over his 25-year career. Karl is a creative offensive mind, but his teams also play solid defense. Unfortunately, Karl’s postseason record is 80-105. Karl has coached superstars like Ray Allen, Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson, so coaching a humble superstar like Derrick Rose would not be a challenge.
Mike Dunleavy has shown that when given a talented roster, he can coach teams deep into the playoffs. His last stint as a head coach was with the Los Angeles Clippers sans Chris Paul, and it did not go well with one playoff appearance in seven seasons. But in four seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers, he did make it to the playoffs four times. it would be interesting to see what he could do with the Derrick Rose-Joakim Noah combination.
Lionel Hollins coached the Memphis Grizzlies to the playoffs in each of his final three seasons, including an appearance in the Western Conference finals. His defense-first forte is similar to Thibodeau’s, and his experience coaching a terrific passing center in Marc Gasol would make it easy for Hollins to utilize Joakim Noah. The Bulls would keep their intensity under Hollins.
Jeff Van Gundy has always coached hard-nosed teams with high defensive intensity from his days with the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets. His experience blending passing big men like Yao Ming with dynamic guards like Steve Francis and Tracy McGrady could elevate the Bulls to the next level, but would he go to Chicago considering the lack of respect for his friend Thibodeau?
Jerry Sloan made his name in Chicago terrorizing opposing guards on the defensive end of the floor. Sloan’s tenure with the Utah Jazz didn’t end on a good note, and Sloan is ready to get back on the sideline. Sloan embodies the blue-collar attitude of Chicago and is still one of the city’s favorite sons. Sloan's pick-and-roll worked wonders for John Stockton and Deron, and neither of them possesses the athletic ability of Rose.
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