Note: we recorded this before the news of Skiles departing immediately broke, so...yeah.
Scott Skiles is in his fifth season as head coach for the Milwaukee Bucks, but he has reportedly informed the Bucks that this will be his last year with the team. According to David Aldridge of NBA.com, Skiles has decided that he will not seek a contract extension when his deal expires after this season:
"Multiple league sources say that Skiles, who is in the final year of the five-year contract he signed in 2008, has informed the Bucks that he does not want a contract extension, and is resigned to the fact that he will be elsewhere next season."
"...Skiles, according to sources, has wondered about the team's overall plan going forward, and whether it would be willing to either completely rebuild the roster through high Draft picks like Jennings, or make a trade for a dynamic, superstar-caliber player that the existing core could complement."
The actual story doesn't come as a big surprise -- last spring the NBA rumor mill circulated a story that Skiles cleaned out his office and tried to force the Bucks to buy out the final year of his contract -- but the timing is a bit strange. Despite a four-game losing streak, the Bucks are 16-16 overall and the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference entering the action on Jan. 8. For a team that started the season with modest playoff aspirations, they are right on track to compete for a final seed in a weak conference. Why is the rumor heating up now?
To take it even further, why is Skiles willing to walk away from a head coaching position in the NBA. He clearly enjoys coaching, and his record (443-433) is very respectable when considering that he's never really had the good fortune to handle superstar talent. There are only 30 head coaching jobs in the association, and they aren't easy to land, yet Skiles wants to walk away from this very exclusive club?
Dan Sinclair explored the idea in his column, and it all gets back to the questionable approach the franchise has pushed over the past decade:
More important than who's coaching the team, who's drafting the players, and who's writing the checks, the Bucks have to figure out what direction the franchise is headed. Can they continue to tread water, hoping they catch a break or somebody on the roster suddenly breaks through to superstardom? Are they willing to hit the reset button and admit defeat on a playoff mandate three years in the making? Without answers to these most fundamental questions, the Bucks can hardly commit to anything: personnel, coaches, whatever. Frankly, it's no wonder Scott Skiles is willing to hand the flickering torch to someone else.
We decided to go even deeper in a podcast on the Skiles rumors, and the topics of conversation range from Skiles' odd departure from the Bulls, his relationship with general manager John Hammond and even his lasting legacy if he did leave the team for good at the end of the season. Corey Maggette is mentioned, the Ray Allen trade is invoked and Frank and Steve each sigh multiple times. Please listen in and then pass along your thoughts in the comments section.
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