Source: Bulls set to begin interviews

Updated: May 17, 2010, 4:40 PM ET
By Melissa Isaacson | ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- The Bulls officially will begin their interview process for a new coach this week when they meet with "a few" candidates at the NBA Draft Combine -- Thursday and Friday -- according to a team source.

The source said the interviews are taking place because a number of the candidates will be in Chicago, and the team is "staying patient and continuing to gather information."

One candidate likely to be scheduled is Houston Rockets assistant Elston Tuner, who also has interviewed with the Philadelphia 76ers. Turner, who is a former teammate of Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson, said last week he expects to be interviewed by the Bulls. Turner, 52, has been a finalist for two other NBA head coaching positions -- the Phoenix Suns in 2008 and Minnesota Timberwolves in 2009. In addition to the Rockets, Turner also has been an assistant with the Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers.

Other possible candidates mentioned are former New Jersey Nets' coach Lawrence Frank; Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Maurice Cheeks; former Timberwolves' executive Kevin McHale; and Dallas Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey, who was a runner-up in the Bulls' last coaching search. Casey is a former Minnesota head coach, and is scheduled to interview with the Atlanta Hawks about their vacancy. ESPN reported earlier this month that the New Orleans Hornets, Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Clippers also were interested in talking to Casey.

Boston Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau also is believed to be on the Bulls' radar.

Jeff Van Gundy, who told ESPNChicago.com that the Bulls position is "a very good job," but has not thought about possibly interviewing if he is asked, is likely to wait one more year until his daughter is out of school to get back into coaching, according to a source who knows Van Gundy. Jeff's brother, Stan Van Gundy, also said he doesn't expect Jeff to coach next season.

As reported by ESPN.com's Andy Katz, team sources re-affirmed that the Bulls have not been contacted by anyone in John Calipari's camp regarding the Kentucky coach coming to the Bulls -- as a package deal with LeBron James or otherwise.

Melissa Isaacson is a columnist for ESPNChicago.com.

Melissa Isaacson

Columnist, ESPNChicago.com
Melissa Isaacson is a columnist for espnW.com, ESPN Chicago and ESPN.com. The award-winning writer has covered Chicago sports for most of her 31-year career, including at the Chicago Tribune before joining ESPN in 2009. Isaacson has also covered tennis since 1986.

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