http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports/basketball/bulls/cs-0503210182mar21,1,3704490.column?coll=cs-bulls-headlinesWhat, you say he already has a job as Bulls coach? And might even be coach of the year?
Skiles remains the most popular player in Magic history, annually winning the fan vote when Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway were there. Magic insiders admit they erred when they had a chance to hire Skiles before the Bulls did and hesitated. The Magic has talented players, but its defense ranks among the league's poorest. And the record is starting to suggest nobody does defense better than Skiles.
In Skiles' first full season as the Suns' coach, they recorded their best-ever defensive field-goal percentage. The Bulls now are on pace to have their best-ever field-goal defense. This is probably not a coincidence. For next season, the Bulls hold an option on Skiles that has not been exercised yet. There's no reason to believe the option won't be exercised--and with an extension. But what if the Magic offered their first-round draft pick as compensation for Skiles?
The Magic has a glut of young players. The Bulls don't have many ways to get better quickly with no salary-cap room after this season and no first-round pick because of the Luol Deng deal. There are a number of good shooting guards and solid power forwards in this draft. The Bulls could use help at both positions.
So how much is a coach really worth? Many will say perhaps five games over a season. But what is a young, potential starter worth? Skiles is establishing a reputation as a Larry Brown-esque turnaround coach: You hire him and your team gets better. But those types of demanding coaches usually don't last long. They burn out the players with their urgent style. Few expect Brown to return to Detroit after this season, his second.
The Bulls figure to bet on Skiles blending with his current group. But what if a team like Orlando does make such an offer. Is it too good to refuse?