Gery Woelfel reports Larry Krystkowiak has been fired, which immediately turns attention to possible replacements, the most obvious being Scott Skiles, Rick Carlisle, Larry Brown and Jeff Van Gundy. While it's been suggested Carlisle and Brown may already have talked to the Bucks, Frank Isola of the NY Daily News writes Skiles may already be talking contract terms with the Bucks:
Scott Skiles may not be unemployed long enough to become a candidate to replace Isiah Thomas.
According to a source close to the former Chicago Bulls head coach, Skiles is already in talks with another team - believed to be the Milwaukee Bucks - and could have a deal in place by next week.
The Bulls today fired interim coach Jim Boylan and are expected to make a hard run at Carlisle, while the Knicks will shortly be done with Isiah Thomas and Marc Iavaroni is expected out in Memphis.
In the game of coaching musical chairs, it stands to reason the Bulls will have the inside track on their choice of Carlisle or Brown unless Herb Kohl and John Hammond can somehow manage to sell Milwaukee over their more prestigious neighbors to the South. Brown is the more risky candidate, and given his interest in personnel matters might not be a great fit for the Bucks' new front office. However, that would still leave Skiles--a good friend of Larry K ironically--as a solid consolation prize. Skiles has a .528 career winning percentage, and while he'll never win any congeniality awards, the defensive mindset he brought to Chicago in recent years would be a much-welcomed change in Milwaukee.
The firing surprises no one given the way the team quit on Krystkowiak in the second half of the season, and many have suggested Krystkowiak never got the entire team to buy in from the start. On top of that Krystkowiak admittedly had his share of rookie mistakes as coach, underscoring the need for the Bucks to bring in a more proven candidate. While Krystkowiak is an extremely likable, hard-working guy, there was simply no way he could be expected to succeed next year with this group of players. In many ways he could be considered a victim of his own rapid rise up the coaching ranks, having taken over the team after less than one season as an assistant. But in retrospect he wasn't ready for a head coaching position, and instead of having time to learn the coaching ropes in Milwaukee he'll now be in search of new employment. And while the team should bear much of the responsibility for their sad season, the old cliche about coaches being easier to fire than players is true. Either way, we certainly wish Larry K the best.