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Bulls Mon May 12 2008

D'Antoni to Bulls: Talk to the Hand

We all knew it would be a tough sell getting one of the buzz-worthy coaches in the NBA to take on the challenge of running the Bulls. But the Mike D'Antoni snub takes it to a whole 'nother level.

Not only did D'Antonio sign with the New York Knicks for a whopping $24 million over four years, but he did so without even giving real consideration to the Bulls' offer, which had been discussed in the national media for weeks and even called a "done deal" by one report as late as last Friday. Reportedly, Bulls owners Jerry Reinsdorf and General Manager John Paxson were still getting their shi... er, deal together when word came out about the D'Antoni/Knicks pact. The Bulls weren't even given a chance to make a counter offer.

D'Antoni's agent tried to make nice and treated the Bulls like Ralphie Wiggums in giving them a gold star just for the (lame) effort. "Chicago made a terrific, last-second pitch, but at that point Mike was emotionally committed to New York", said agent Warren LeGarie.

You have to love the "emotionally committed" part, a bit of linguistic BS that means that no matter what the Bulls offered, he wasn't biting.

Now the Bulls' choices are down to former Dallas coach Avery Johnson, who lead the Mavs to the NBA Finals in 2006 but was canned after the playoffs this year. Johnson doesn't seem to be too anxious to join the Bulls anymore than D'Antoni was. He has yet to reschedule another interview for the position. Also on the radar are Boston assistant Tom Thibodeau, Detroit assistant Michael Curry and former player Mark Jackson, who has no coaching experience. That the Bulls are even considering Jackson should tell you where they are in the NBA pecking order.

Here's hoping Andy Angelos' formulaic dismissal of D'Antoni is right and that that we're better off without him. Because this getting treated like a red-headed stepchild stuff is pretty embarassing.

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