No Confidence in Del Negro

Bulls general manager Gar Foreman met with the media on Tuesday, and wouldn't even give embattled coach Vinny Del Negro the old "vote of confidence everyone knows is actually a kiss of death."

According to several reports, the Bulls have already made the decision to replace Del Negro, but have not yet settled on a replacement.

For fantasy owners, the transition on the Chicago bench is worth watching. Coaches matter in fantasy basketball; one need only look at the Phoenix Suns' numbers under Mike D'Antoni, then Terry Porter, then Alvin Gentry to see the effect.

An interim coach is one possibility; current assistants Pete Myers and Bernie Bickerstaff both have head coaching experience, and the organization might not be eager to pay big money for a coach while Del Negro and Scott Skiles are still on the books. But an interim coach probably won't mean major changes to what the Bulls are doing.

If Foreman and team president John Paxson decide not to go the interim route, there are several big-name NBA coaches that might be worth a call. Doug Collins has a long history with the team and organization, and is reportedly close with owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Avery Johnson, Byron Scott and Sam Mitchell have all won NBA Coach of the Year awards.

But the name I find most intriguing is Lawrence Frank, the recently-dismissed coach of the New Jersey Nets.

Why Frank? He seems like an ideal fit for Chicago's current personnel. The dribble-drive motion offense he ran with the Nets is centered around guards that can get into the paint. If Frank's sets can make Devin Harris an all-star, what would they do for Derrick Rose, John Salmons, Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich?

Also worth noting -- the dribble-drive offense Frank used in Jersey was a variation on the system used by John Calipari at Memphis. Where did Rose play college ball again? Oh yeah... with Cal and the Tigers. Installing a new system during the season is certainly difficult, but Frank would have a head start because his star player already knows it.

And Frank probably wouldn't command an enormous salary. Being part of a new NBA record for consecutive losses to start a season doesn't help your earning power much.

If I had to guess, I'd say the Bulls will go with an interim coach for the rest of this season, then look to make a long-term hire this summer. But if Frank gets the job, I'll immediately upgrade the Bulls' perimeter scorers -- especially Rose.


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