Bulls set to talk to Johnson

The Bulls are believed to be among the three teams which have reportedly already contacted Avery Johnson, who was fired Wednesday as head coach of the Dallas Mavericks. “Anyone with a track record will be considered,” a source close to the Bulls search said when asked about the team’s interest in Johnson. Johnson, who has three years worth $12 million left on his Dallas contract–has indicated he may take a season off and collect the $4 million the Mavs would owe him before getting back on an NBA bench.

Mike D’Antoni would be added to the Bulls’ list of candidates as the next head coach should a meeting Friday between he and Phoenix Suns brass–including GM Steve Kerr and owner Robert Sraver–lead to a parting of the ways. Kerr has declined to give permission to teams seeking to talk with D’Antoni. Kerr said he would like D’Antoni to return–the coach has two years left on his contract worth $8.5 million–if the two men can resolve the differences which arose between them this season. D’Antoni reportedly is the Mavs’ No. 1 candidate should he leave the Suns.

Rick Carlisle, who was the first candidate Paxson interviewed, reportedly met Wednesday with New York Knicks president Donnie Walsh to talk about their head coaching vacancy.

Also, as expected, Jim Boylan will be an assistant on Scott Skiles’ staff in Milwaukee. Boylan was promoted from assitant to interim head coach of the Bulls after Skiles was fired on Christmas Eve.

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