Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf yesterday announced that Tim Floyd will succeed Phil Jackson as coach of the NBA champions if Jackson doesn't return for a 10th season.

In an unusual arrangement, Reinsdorf gave Jackson until the end of the NBA player lockout to decide if he will come back. If Jackson returns, Floyd, who resigned as head coach at Iowa State on Wednesday, would become director of basketball operations.

"Every time we've asked Phil to come back he's said he doesn't want to come back," Reinsdorf said. "We're going to try one more time, and maybe Michael {Jordan} can talk him into it."

Jackson's agent, Todd Musburger, reiterated yesterday that his client has left the Bulls for good.

"There is no reasonable expectation that Phil would reverse his decision," Musburger said. "Nor is there any reason to suspect that what occurred this morning in Chicago was a sincere effort."

Jordan, 35, has said the only way he would play another season was if Jackson were his coach. Jordan and teammates Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman are unrestricted free agents but cannot sign with the Bulls or any other team during the lockout. Jordan has said he would not make a decision about returning until the lockout ends. He said earlier this month that while he had nothing against Floyd, he didn't want to adapt to a new coach.

Several observers speculated yesterday that the announcement of the coaching change had been carefully choreographed to deflect blame from the Bulls for breaking up a championship team and potentially losing Jordan.

"I viewed this morning as a transparent public relations maneuver for which Reinsdorf and {Bulls General Manager Jerry} Krause are quite well known," Musburger said. "They appear to be very concerned about what Michael might do and they seem to be unwilling to be involved in responsibility for what Michael might do. They seem to be taking the arrow and pointing it in Phil's direction."

Jordan's agent, David Falk, said yesterday that "if you understood the level of criticism Bulls management will take if Michael doesn't come back for any reason, then you could understand why they've gone to such elaborate lengths to posture the situation the way they have."

Falk said Floyd's hiring "will not change Michael's game plan of giving himself some time over the summer to evaluate . . . and to see how the Bulls deal with Pippen, Rodman and the rest of the players."

Rodman's agent, Dwight Manley, said yesterday that "it's pretty obvious they intend on saying goodbye to the Chicago Bulls as we know it."

Jackson literally rode off into the sunset on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle at the team's practice facility in suburban Chicago in June after passing on a final offer from Reinsdorf. He then took a long trek through Turkey with his wife, June, and former New York Knicks teammate and former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley.