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McHale interesting option for Bulls
By Barry Rozner | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 4/28/2010 12:00 AM

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You would think John Paxson has had enough time to put together a strong list of coaching candidates, considering he's had roughly two years to plan for the inevitable.

And when the Vinny Del Negro firing is official, all the usual suspects will get their interviews and all the usual names will be thrown about.

If not a one excites you, how about Kevin McHale? It's a bit out of the box, and perhaps just what the Bulls need.

In small samples, McHale has provided a glimpse into what he could offer the Bulls from the bench, which is a clue, a style, a rotation and a philosophy, something the team has lacked the last two years.

As GM at the time, McHale first coached the Timberwolves in 2005, working the final 31 games (19-12), and there was talk in Minnesota that he ought to stay on, but McHale didn't want both jobs.

After just 19 games in 2008, McHale was ordered to step down as GM and move behind the bench, where he lost his first eight to finish a 13-game losing streak.

But then the Wolves went 12-4 and there was again conversation in Minnesota that McHale would be the long-term answer.

Wolves owner Glen Taylor indicated that McHale probably would return for 2009-10 after the Wolves went 10-4 in January 2009, the best month for the franchise since March 2005 - which also occurred under McHale.

Unfortunately for McHale, power forward Al Jefferson - averaging 23 points and 11 boards - sustained a season-ending knee injury on Feb. 8, and that was it for Minnesota.

McHale finished the year 20-43 and was fired.

But the players liked playing for him, respected the Hall of Famer, and said he taught them well, and now there's a buzz around the league that McHale would bolt his TV gig for a job behind the bench if he can find an appealing situation.

Maybe that's the Bulls, who have a couple of pieces in place and are seeking another big one this summer in free agency.

If nothing else, the 6-foot-10 McHale isn't likely to find himself in a physical confrontation with the Bulls' GM, assuming of course that Paxson remains at the helm.

So if Jerry Reinsdorf doesn't force Paxson behind the bench, then the Bulls are probably looking at the usual retreads.

Unless they decide to think outside the box.

Name to remember

The Bulls aren't likely to hire someone without head-coaching experience again, but you have to think Lakers assistant Brian Shaw is going to get a shot somewhere one of these days after six years working with Phil Jackson.

Shaw was a coach on the floor in many respects while winning rings as a player for Jackson. He was both respected and liked by his teammates during his long NBA career, and was often the liaison for players when there were issues with the coaching staff.

Zambrano relief

The Dodgers and the Rockies, among a dozen teams, need help in the starting rotation and would appear to be logical trade partners for the Cubs, who seek late relief and a chance for Carlos Zambrano to return to the rotation.

This would be an excellent time for GM Jim Hendry to sell high on Carlos Silva, who hasn't had a winning season since 2005, or Tom Gorzelanny, who has had only one year in his career that would lead you to believe he can continue his solid start.

Welcome back

To the Bears' Chris Harris, who instantly becomes their best safety. Big mistake by GM Jerry Angelo trading Harris in the first place, but good idea getting him back at a crucial position where the Bears are weak.

The target

So the Bears whack college scouting director Greg Gabriel, after firing pro personnel director Bobby DePaul, after dumping offensive coordinator Ron Turner and five offensive assistants, most notably QBs coach Pep Hamilton and offensive line coach Harry Hiestand.

Jerry Angelo may want to check his math on this, but isn't he getting dangerously close to running out of scapegoats?


The Wolves begin the West Division finals against the Texas Stars on Friday night at the Allstate Arena, with Game 2 Sunday afternoon. For ticket info, visit

Warming up

Only a couple of days away now from Friday's first Party in the Park at Arlington, followed by the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

Just asking

E-mailer Art Hantel: "Do the Cubs have a bullpen for left fielders who can't catch flyballs?"

Backing up

E-mailer The Last Bear Fan: "When I look at the schedule of Bears opponents in December, why does the beep, beep, beep of heavy equipment ring in my head?"

And finally -

The San Francisco Chronicle's Scott Ostler: "That was the sanest, most sensible Raiders draft in years. Was Al (Davis) on vacation?"

• Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM.