CHICAGO, Nov. 24 — Bulls coach Bill Cartwright was fired Monday after Chicago’s 4-10 start to a season that was supposed to bring marked improvement. Pete Myers will be the interim coach, and general manager John Paxson hopes to name a replacement within the next week.
“THE TEAM is underperforming and we have to find ways to win, period,” Paxson said. “I am not satisfied with the team’s start this season and changes have to be made. This represents the first change, but not necessarily the last.” Cartwright is the second NBA coach to be fired this season after Doc Rivers at Orlando. The Bulls were in Dallas, where they play the Mavericks on Tuesday night. Paxson was to meet with the team and then return to Chicago. The Bulls have lost seven of their past 10 games. They’ve struggled offensively and defensively, and haven’t been able to find a rhythm despite returning three starters from last year’s squad that won 30 games for the first time since 1998. Even worse, the team has shown little energy. Its first four losses were by an average of 27 points, including back-to-back 30-point blowouts. Eddy Curry, expected to have a breakout year, has struggled, while Tyson Chandler has battled a back injury for much of the season. Cartwright’s dismissal had been rumored for days, and he seemed to have made peace with it Sunday, when Sacramento beat Chicago 110-99 in his last game as the team’s coach. Cartwright had more than 20 family members and friends at the game near his hometown of Elk Grove, Calif. “My dad’s wisdom was simple: Just do the best you can and come on home,” Cartwright said. “That’s it.” Cartwright is 51-100 in almost two seasons as coach. He replaced Tim Floyd on Dec. 28, 2001, after serving as a Bulls assistant for six years. Cartwright was a key ingredient on Chicago’s first three championship teams, the dominant center who helped the Bulls become one of the NBA’s best defensive teams. He averaged 13.2 points and 6.3 rebounds in 17 years in the NBA, and 8.9 points and 5.4 rebounds in the playoffs. Though he and Paxson were teammates on those championship teams, their relationship couldn’t save his job. “I knew there would be difficult times in this job, but none is harder than replacing a friend,” Paxson said. “I have known Bill Cartwright as a teammate, as a colleague and as a friend for nearly as long as I’ve been in professional basketball. “I admire his hard work and his efforts and loyalty here. He will always be a Bull.” The Bulls have been abysmal since then-general manager Jerry Krause broke up the dynasty gang after they won their sixth NBA title in 1998. They’ve lost 292 games since then and have created and scrapped several rebuilding plans along the way. But this was supposed to be the year everything turned around. Chicago finished 30-52 last year, a nine-game improvement over the 2001-02 squad. Curry and Chandler were expected to build on the huge steps they took at the end of last season, and the addition of Scottie Pippen was supposed to add some needed veteran leadership. Instead, the Bulls got off to a horrid start and things got worse from there. After losing four of their first six games, Cartwright tried to spark the team by shuffling the lineup and benching Jalen Rose and Jamal Crawford on Nov. 8 in New Orleans. The Bulls won and Rose and Crawford had huge games, but the two were upset by the perceived lack of respect. Though everyone insisted the issue was behind them by the time the Bulls hosted Denver two days later, the bad feelings clearly lingered. Chicago won one more game before departing for a five-game West Coast road trip, which has been brutal for the team lately. The Bulls lost the first three games, dropping to 0-30 on the West Coast during the past five years.
If Martha Stewart's obituary had a typo in it, would it read "Beloved Aunt"?
Man, I know I'm gettin old when I remember these coaches and GM's actually playing. It's been like that for a while in basketball (Paxson as GM, McMillian, Rivers, Cartwright, Myers, Scott, etc.), it's picking up in baseball (Pena, McClendon), and it's just beginning in football (Del Rio).
Originally posted by geemoneyMan, I know I'm gettin old when I remember these coaches and GM's actually playing. It's been like that for a while in basketball (Paxson as GM, McMillian, Rivers, Cartwright, Myers, Scott, etc.), it's picking up in baseball (Pena, McClendon), and it's just beginning in football (Del Rio).
It's more like seeing atheletes considered old and ready for retirement when they hit your age (38, in my case). I am starting to lose faith in a scout seeing me on the softball field and the Cubs drafting me..
I see that happening too, Frosty. I think Phil's future relies on where Kobe's going to be since I don't see that tandem together much longer. I'm 75% sure one of them will be a former Laker come November.