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Reinsdorf clarifies remarks, implies ex-coach had Bulls' best interests in mind

CHICAGO -- Former Chicago Bulls coach Scott Skiles was fired
after he told management the team needed "a new voice."

"Something didn't mesh right this year," team chairman Jerry
Reinsdorf said in an interview scheduled to air Sunday night on
WGN-TV. "Scott came to us eventually and said, 'I think the team
needs a new voice.' ... Scott realized that he wasn't getting
through to them. It was time to do something else."

In a later interview Sunday with the Chicago Tribune, Reinsdorf clarified his remarks, saying he didn't want to give the impression that he wasn't happy with Skiles' body of work as Bulls coach or that Skiles wanted out.

"Scott told [general manager] John [Paxson], 'I think this team might need a new voice,'" Reinsdorf said. "I can't believe I was so sloppy with my words. Scott did an excellent job here."

The team fired Skiles on Dec. 24 and replaced him on an interim
basis with assistant Jim Boylan.

"Scott's a dedicated professional," Boylan said before
Chicago's game Sunday against the Suns. "He'd never quit on the
team. I think Scott's realistic and he sees what's going on around
him and he's not afraid of the truth.

"Sometimes, when things aren't
going well, there's a reason for that. ... Whatever conversations he had with Jerry, that's a private
conversation between those two guys. That really doesn't have
anything to do with me."

Reinsdorf also discussed how the team was affected by the Kobe Bryant trade rumors and the decisions by Luol Deng and Ben Gordon
to turn down multimillion-dollar contract extensions.

"One of those two guys told me he made a mistake," Reinsdorf
said. "I don't know if that had something to do with [the slow
start]."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.