According to sources, there is strong reluctance in the organization to move assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff into the interim job for the rest of the season. Bickerstaff is heavily involved in the in-game strategy -- which stinks, by the way -- and moreover, he's detached from the players. If you think the players have stopped competing for Del Negro, one person with knowledge of the Bulls' situation said, just wait until they got a hold of Bickerstaff.
Paxson? "Too thin-skinned," another person with knowledge of the situation said. This notion was supported by another person who said Paxson also is too high-strung to take over on the bench, given that he repeatedly storms out of the owner's suite during games because he can't bear to watch. Paxson with a front-row view of this mess, with the closest exit on the loading dock, wouldn't be a pretty sight. Putting Paxson within earshot of fans in the United Center -- who could remind him that he traded the rights to LaMarcus Aldridge for Thomas and gave $60 million to broken-down Ben Wallace -- wouldn't be great for business, either.
Two sources with knowledge of the team's strategy said a strong candidate to replace Del Negro is assistant coach Pete Myers, a Paxson favorite who is viewed in the organization as a lifelong Bull. "He's always been a house pet," one of the people said. To this point, his claim to fame was becoming the Bulls' shooting guard when Michael Jordan retired the first time in 1993. Replacing Del Negro should be a little easier.
I'm not sure what to make of that news. Pete Myers has long had the reputation among fans as kind of an organizational guy rather than a future head coach candidate. I'm not sure that's a fair representation or not as I have no idea how fans can really judge assistants without knowing what their day to day responsibilities are to know whether they are successful or not in executing them.
The one thing you could say is that Myers was initially moved back to the front office rather than on the bench for awhile before becoming an assistant again which would lead me to believe he wasn't really head coaching material even on an interim basis.
The news that Bickerstaff isn't liked by the players comes as a surprise given his reputation as being a player oriented coach. Especially as an assistant, I'd think he'd have developed a lot of positive relationships.
Paxson not going to coach the team is of no surprise to me, and quite frankly, I don't think that'd be a good move for anyone either.
We'll wait to see what happens. Perhaps the one thing I've gotten out of the past few days is that I need to start following Ken Berger more as he's had a several interesting Bulls nuggets in the past week.