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Sunday, January 27, 2008
Updated: January 28, 8:35 AM ET
Reinsdorf clarifies remarks, implies ex-coach had Bulls' best interests in mind

ESPN.com news services

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."

Skiles
Skiles

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.