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Carlisle? Izzo? Not yet, anyway
By Mike McGraw | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 4/24/2008 12:17 AM

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One byproduct of a patient coaching search is the occasional off-the-wall rumor.

A couple that hit the bricks on Tuesday had the Bulls days away from hiring former Pacers and Pistons coach Rick Carlisle and giving strong consideration to Michigan State boss Tom Izzo.

The Bulls have spoken to Carlisle, a team source confirmed, but have had preliminary discussions with a number of candidates.

It makes sense that Carlisle is in the mix early, since he is not currently employed by an NBA team.

Carlisle was rumored to be a top candidate in Milwaukee, but the Bucks quickly settled on former Bulls coach Scott Skiles instead.

Expect general manager John Paxson to live up to his promise of keeping no timetable for filling this job. There is no reason for him to rush, since the only other vacant coaching seat right now is in New York.

The Bulls figure to have interest in some assistant coaches still working in the playoffs, such as Boston's Tom Thibodeau, and will have to wait before holding any formal discussions.

There could also be new candidates available, such as Dallas' Avery Johnson or Detroit's Flip Saunders, if their teams are bounced from the playoffs early.

As far as hiring a college coach such as Izzo, Paxson did not rule out anything when he spoke to the media on April 17 after firing interim coach Jim Boylan.

But Izzo would have to be considered a long shot, since it's been several years since a coach with no NBA experience has made the jump from college with success. Tim Floyd, Lon Kruger, Mike Montgomery and Leonard Hamilton are recent examples.