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Theus is 6th coach fired; did he pass on Bulls job?
by Sam Smith
Posted on Dec 15
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The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or their Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors.
And Reggie makes six.
Reggie Theus Monday became the sixth coach to be fired already this season in the most remarkable spasm of management overreaction in NBA history as the Kings pushed Theus overboard in just his second season.
Top assistant Chuck Person also was let go with assistant Kenny Natt taking over as interim coach. Former Wizards coach Eddie Jordan, already speculated upon as a possibility in Philadelphia, is being mentioned as a possibility since he started his coaching career with the Kings and was head coach for just over a season.
And you have to wonder how much Theus is kicking himself at a lost chance to perhaps have had a shot at coaching the Bulls.
Theus was a popular Bull when drafted in 1978 in the first round and played almost six seasons for the team, making the All Star team twice, in his 13-year NBA career.
Advisors and friends close to Theus were telling him to throw his hat in the ring for the Bulls job after last season when the Kings were a respectable 38-44 in his first season with a team many doubted could win 25 games. Theus said he wanted to remain loyal to the Kings.
The owning Maloof family had pretty much pushed Theus on an uncertain general manager Geoff Petrie, and when things began to go bad this season Theus didn’t have the support of Petrie and was immediately vulnerable. Theus’ option wasn’t picked up this past summer as well. He will be paid through the end of this season and is said to be looking to return to college coaching.
Person was one of three finalists for the Bulls head coaching job that went to Vinny Del Negro. Theus never was in the mix because he never asked the Kings for permission to talk with the Bulls. So the Bulls never sought out Theus. Though the question is if Theus had tried to reach out to the Bulls, would the the Kings would have stopped him? Likely not Petrie.
And with two successful seasons at the U. of New Mexico and a solid season with the Kings, Theus could have been the kind of young but experienced coach with considerable Chicago connections that might have gotten him on the list for the Bulls.
Though the Bulls clearly seem satisfied with their choice of Del Negro, and at 11-12 and a chance to get to .500 against a weak Charlotte team Tuesday, one would have to say Del Negro has done a good job to this point and was a good choice.
Theus joins Mo Cheeks, fired last week, and Randy Wittman, P.J. Carlesimo, Jordan and Sam Mitchell in the unprecedented purge of coaches this season. This despite Jordan having his top offensive and defensive best players, Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood, out for the season and Theus without his top scorer Kevin Martin, and starting center Brad Miller suspended the first few weeks with management ordering a youth movement to start playing rookies and second year players. The Kings have lost 14 of 16.
The franchise still is also paying Eric Musselman, fired 18 months ago, making it three head coaches, now with Natt, they’ll be paying.