Tim Floyd joined the Chicago Bulls today. Not as head coach - not right away.
He will become director of basketball operations, with the head coaching job left open until the NBA lockout is resolved and the future of former coach Phil Jackson and superstar Michael Jordan become clear."We are leaving open for Phil, Michael and Scottie (Pippen) to return and defend their championship, while at the same time providing a plan to move forward if they chose not to do so," Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said at a news conference.
Jackson declined an offer to return in June. But Reinsdorf said he has the option to reconsider. If Jackson does not want to come back, Reinsdorf said the coaching job would go to Floyd.
Jordan has made no secret that he doesn't want to play for a young or college coach with no NBA experience. Floyd, who resigned Wednesday as head coach of Iowa State, said he didn't want to be the reason that Jordan retires.
"I was not about to take this job if it would prevent in any way Michael Jordan's return," Floyd said. "If Phil Jackson wants to return, I will step away."
Floyd has been the leading candidate for the job ever since Jackson said he would not return.
Jordan has said he won't make an official announcement about his future until the NBA lockout ends.
Floyd, 44, with no NBA coaching experience, said he wanted veteran assistant Tex Winter, the creator of the Bulls' vaunted triangle offense, to remain with the team.
"I know this much, there's not a whole lot broken around here. And I don't think that there's a whole lot that I'm going to need to try to have to fix," Floyd said.
Floyd is not allowed to talk to Jordan during the lockout. But, if he could, he would promise the five-time MVP he wouldn't change the Bulls' style of offense.
"I know what he means to this city and fans worldwide," Floyd said.
"If Phil doesn't return, I hope Michael will come back and play for me. I really do," Floyd said. "I would love the opportunity to coach Michael Jordan."
Jordan refused to comment Wednesday on Floyd as he headed off to enjoy his favorite summer pastime - golf. He was back on the course today.
"Michael needs to take his time to see how all of the pieces fall into place," his agent David Falk said Wednesday. "We only have one piece of the picture. It may be that piece is of sufficient weight to outweigh everything else. Only time will tell.
"I think he needs to step back from all the events of the season and all the political events surrounding the team and decide what he wants to do," Falk said. "He's earned the right after what he's brought to the team and the city and the game of basketball to do whatever brings him joy and satisfaction."
The Bulls also interviewed NBA assistants Scott Skiles, Ron Rothstein, Paul Silas and Rick Carlisle, but the job was thought to be Floyd's all along.
"I think it would be a shock to anyone close to the scene had Tim Floyd not been hired," Falk said. "This was a decision that was made a year ago."
Floyd was 243-130 with five NCAA tournament appearances at Iowa State and had his only losing season (12-18) last season. He was 81-47 in his four years at Iowa State and was runner-up for the AP's national coach of the year in 1995-96.