Daily Herald
For right price, Bulls just could land Kobe, Phil
By Barry Rozner | Daily Herald Columnist
Published: 2/24/2010 12:00 AM

Back in the spring of 2005, while Scott Skiles was holding the Bulls hostage, the question seemed painfully obvious.

Why would they bother handing all that money to Skiles in a new contract when Phil Jackson was available?

Jackson was on hiatus and discussing with several teams a return to the NBA, but the Bulls buckled to Skiles' demands, and that young core of Ben Gordon, Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng never amounted to much under the burden of a beast.

They whiffed on the chance to get Jackson, the window closed, and he's been in Los Angeles ever since.

Well, that window is open again and it might allow both Jackson and Kobe Bryant to jump right through it and land in Chicago.

Jackson's a free agent after this season, and the talk in L.A. is that the Lakers will expect him to take a big pay cut from the $12 million he's currently earning.

And while that may seem a bit out of the Bulls' price range, considering they found the cheapest deal imaginable in Vinny Del Negro, they can take some of the money they saved with Vinny and pay Jackson.

The homecoming itself, along with the burial of all the bad blood and memories, would be worth whatever Jackson costs, not to mention the fact that he's a great coach and he'd be terrific for Derrick Rose.

And then there's that little bonus of bringing with him Kobe Bryant, who can opt out of his deal following the season.

Bryant might just follow Phil wherever he goes, which could mean staying with the Lakers, moving to the Clippers - who would pay them both whatever they want - or traveling to Chicago, which is as good a basketball spot as they'll find anywhere.

Despite the weather, Kobe was willing to come here in October 2007, but the Bulls couldn't make it happen.

This time they can.

They have a point guard who can get him the ball, someone who'll play catch with him in the post.

They have the cap space for a free agent his size.

They can sign his coach.

The only thing standing in the way of signing Bryant and Jackson is money.

And money is something they have plenty of these days.

Taking shape

There should never be shock anymore when a pitcher comes into camp in less than perfect condition, but you would have thought Carlos Silva had good reason to be ready.

Instead, Lou Piniella admitted over the weekend that Silva needs to get in better shape before the Cubs can determine whether he's rotation worthy.

So here's a guy making $11.5 million the next two years, whose career has blown up since he signed a monster contract in Seattle and suffered an injury.

And yet with every chance in the world to make the rotation, with the Cubs needing fourth and fifth starters right now, with the team having to find something positive from the Milton Bradley debacle, Silva shows up in Arizona like this.

Make me laugh

While I admit to being eternally obtuse, I can't decipher this one.

The belief of some in cyberspace is that it's OK to take steroids in baseball and cheat the sport - that those players should be cheered and celebrated for duping the fans - but that Tiger Woods owes the world an apology or should be thrown out of golf because he cheated on his wife.

Spend a few minutes pondering that and, upon completion, if you don't suffer a stroke trying to process the folly that substitutes for logic in those feeblest of minds, explain that.

What it often comes down to is most people who spend their time trying to live other's lives for them, usually don't have much of a life at all.

Best quote

WADA director general David Howman, on the HGH suspension of a British rugby-league player: "It shows the people who say that HGH cannot be detected that it can. The sports people who said it can't be detected are fooling themselves."

Ivan Boldirev-ing

Team USA got a little help Tuesday as the Swiss-Belarus match went OT plus a shootout. The only way it could have been better was if Belarus had won the game.

As it stands, they'll have to face the Swiss and goalie Jonas Hiller, who has made life miserable for his opponents in Vancouver.

So the U.S. must avert the classic letdown game Wednesday (2 p.m., Channel 5), avoid turnovers this time against the Swiss, and solve Hiller early.

Just thinking

If you're mad the USA-Canada game was on MSNBC and you couldn't watch, here's a thought: It's 2010. Get cable.

Just saying

On the other hand, if you're mad that you couldn't find the HD version of MSNBC, join the club. I scoured the earth and couldn't find it.

Just shocking

However, I did find 273 channels I never knew existed, and a couple that would make Tiger Woods blush.

And finally

Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi: "Can you believe porn star and alleged Tiger mistress Joslyn James says she wants an apology from Tiger because, well, she gave up her 'career' for him. Hey, babe, so did Phil Mickelson."