DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Nearly a month after leading the Chicago Bulls to their first playoff appearance in seven years, coach Scott Skiles still doesn't have a contract extension.
The organization reportedly offered to tear up its $2.75 million
option for next season and reward Skiles with a multiyear deal. But
no agreement is in place.
After a minicamp workout Wednesday, Skiles said he won't
negotiate during the season. He has set a deadline for signing an
extension but wouldn't reveal the date.
"I'll mentally want to move on, not have that to deal with,"
Skiles said. "I think a clear answer is best for everyone."
General manager John Paxson was unavailable for comment.
In their second season under Skiles, the Bulls improved from
19-47 to 47-35 before losing to Washington in the first round of
"It does concern me," Skiles said. "It's part of my life.
Ultimately, I'm in charge of my basketball career."
When asked whether he would prefer to go into next season with
an extension, Skiles said "maybe" after a lengthy pause.
"What if it's $5 a year for four years?" he wondered, after
being asked to elaborate.
Houston recently gave coach Jeff Van Gundy an extension with two
years left on his contract, and other coaches have long-term deals.
The Bulls have until June 30 to exercise the option on Skiles,
but by doing so, they would create a similar scenario to the one
that played out in Seattle this season. Coach Nate McMillan led the
SuperSonics to a 52-30 record and the second round of the playoffs,
but his contract expires June 30.
McMillan refused to negotiate during the season. Exercising the
option would also make Skiles a potential lame duck.
"Nate is Mr. Sonic," Skiles said. "The guy's been there his
whole career. That gives Nate automatic credibility in Seattle."
Skiles came to Chicago with a damaged reputation after spending
portions of three seasons as the Phoenix Suns coach. He thinks the
Bulls' success this season repaired his image.
If an extension isn't signed before next season, Skiles said he
"I totally understand the hierarchy, the way things work," he
said. "There's never going to be any animosity from me."