A minor stir was generated Monday at the Berto Center by a line in a Philadelphia Inquirer story stating that Larry Brown has "drawn interest as a candidate" for the Bulls' coaching job, according to a league source.
General manager John Paxson stopped in the media room before practice ended to emphasize that Jim Boylan will be the coach for the remainder of the season. Paxson added that he hasn't even started thinking about his next coaching move.
There is still plenty of time for the Bulls to make a late surge this season, which could earn Boylan the job permanently.
If the Bulls end up seeking a new coach this summer, common sense suggests that Paxson would consider candidates with a proven track record such as Brown, Doug Collins and Jeff Van Gundy. He'll also probably look at NBA assistants such as Detroit's Terry Porter and San Antonio's Mike Budenholzer.
Brown, 67, is consulting for the 76ers but said recently he plans to return to coaching. During an interview on WMVP 1000-AM on Monday, Brown maintained that he has not spoken to Paxson about coaching the Bulls.
"The one sad thing about this whole process is, in order for me to get back, somebody's got to lose a job," Brown said. "I'm not going to speculate on any job when there's a coach involved. It's not fair, it's not appropriate. People know that I'm out there and people know what I'm capable of doing."
Duhon joins injured list: The Bulls' injury report didn't change much Monday. Kirk Hinrich (bruised ribs) may try to play tonight against New Orleans, but he did not take part in any contact practice. Chris Duhon sat out completely and should be ready for the Hornets.
"Kirk went through some warmups early, just ran up and down the floor and got a few shots up," Jim Boylan said. "He's feeling better, so we'll keep our fingers crossed. C-Du was just sore. The (bruised left) knee is bothering him a little bit. He's been playing a lot of minutes."
When practice ended, Ben Gordon was headed to the city to visit a specialist and have another MRI exam on his sprained right wrist. He didn't rule himself out completely for the next two games, but he appears to be out for tonight's contest.
Luol Deng (left Achilles' tendinitis) could be seen shooting jump shots for the first time in a few weeks. He may be ready to play next week after the all-star break.
Brown likes Big Ben: During Monday's appearance on WMVP 1000-AM, longtime NBA coach Larry Brown was asked about Ben Wallace, whom he coached for two seasons in Detroit.
"All he did was win a championship (in 2004) and take us to the seventh game of the Finals the next year," Brown said. "He was huge for us. I enjoyed my time with him. He was a great teammate. That was a very unique team, and I'm not so sure had he stayed in Detroit the next couple of years, they would have won two more.
"He's a competitor, he wants to win and he wants to play every minute. I don't know how he feels about me, but he was big part of my career and I enjoyed it."
Bulls vs. New Orleans Hornets at the United Center, 7:30 p.m.
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: WMVP 1000-AM
Update: The Hornets (34-15) might be the league's biggest surprise. As of Monday, they ranked second in the Western Conference, a game behind Phoenix. PG Chris Paul is averaging 20.4 points, 10.9 assists and an NBA-best 2.6 steals. He'll be joined at the All-Star Game by PF David West (19.6 ppg, 9.2 rpg). Peja Stojakovic (16.0 ppg) is shooting 47 percent from 3-point range.
Series history: The Bulls are 3-1 against the Hornets the last two seasons. Center Tyson Chandler averaged 6 points and 15 rebounds in the first two games against his former team.
Next: Miami Heat at the United Center, 7 p.m. Thursday
-- Mike McGraw