MUST BE GOOD WITH PEO­PLE: 4 POS­SI­BLE BULLS CAN­DI­DATES

Chicago Sun-Times - - COVER STORY - Joe Cow­ley

Ar­turas Kar­niso­vas, the Bulls’ ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of basketball op­er­a­tions, knows what he wants in a head coach — and it’s not Jim Boylen.

So what type of ré­sumé will at­tract Kar­niso­vas’ eye?

“In terms of what we’re go­ing to be look­ing for, we’re go­ing to con­tinue fo­cus­ing on player de­vel­op­ment, and an em­pha­sis on player de­vel­op­ment — some­one who puts the re­la­tion­ship with play­ers first and is a good com­mu­ni­ca­tor,” Kar­niso­vas said Fri­day af­ter the Bulls an­nounced they’d fired Boylen. “There are a lot of fac­tors go­ing on in terms of cri­te­ria that we’re look­ing at in a coach, but again, those are the main ones. And we will start the search im­me­di­ately.”

That search is likely to be vast, be­gin­ning with the 76ers coach­ing staff:

♦ Ime Udoka, 76ers as­sis­tant coach: Udoka has been praised as some­one his play­ers in­stantly like and fol­low. He comes from the Gregg Popovich coach­ing tree — the same one that pro­duced Boylen — but this branch is con­sid­ered much stur­dier. In ad­di­tion to the player-de­vel­op­ment part of the job, Udoka has a rep­u­ta­tion as a de­fen­sive-minded coach, mak­ing him a top can­di­date for the Bulls. But if the 76ers end up fir­ing their cur­rent head coach, Brett Brown, it’s pos­si­ble Udoka will in­herit that job and stay in Philly.

♦ Adrian Griffin, Rap­tors as­sis­tant coach: Griffin’s star might be fad­ing in the wake of se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions of do­mes­tic violence made by his ex-wife. Even if he’s in­no­cent, there could be too much bag­gage for the Bulls to touch at this point.

♦ Kenny Atkin­son, for­mer Nets coach: Atkin­son was lauded for the way he de­vel­oped some of his play­ers in Brook­lyn, but for as much praise as he re­ceived, there wasn’t much win­ning go­ing on. One in­dus­try in­sider said Atkin­son is a known self-pro­moter, so Kar­niso­vas would have some se­ri­ous ques­tion­ing to do in the in­ter­view process.

♦ Wes Unseld Jr., Nuggets as­sis­tant coach: A de­fen­sive-minded coach with a Hall of Famer fa­ther, Unseld al­ready knows Kar­niso­vas, who was pre­vi­ously the Nuggets’ gen­eral man­ager, and has an eye for tal­ent and de­vel­op­ment. He un­der­stands the im­por­tance of player re­la­tion­ships and is re­garded by his play­ers as a di­rect com­mu­ni­ca­tor. ✶

CHRIS SZAGOLA/AP

Six­ers as­sis­tant Ime Udoka (with Ben Sim­mons) might check all the boxes for the Bulls’ job.

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