DEL NEGRO'S OUT now the search begins
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls are set to announce the firing of coach Vinny Del Negro on Tuesday, according to a source.
Sources said that Bulls general manager Gar Forman met with Del Negro on Monday. As part of the Bulls' organizational meetings over the past couple days, Forman also met with other members of the Bulls hierarchy about Del Negro's future. Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf spoke to Del Negro over the weekend, when the Bulls coach made an argument to keep his job.
Del Negro has one year worth approximately $2 million remaining on a guaranteed three-year contract.
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Though the focus will immediately turn to a coaching search that could include such candidates as Doug Collins, Maurice Cheeks, Eric Musselman, Phil Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, Byron Scott, Sam Mitchell, Tom Thibodeau, Lawrence Frank, Dwane Casey, Avery Johnson and John Calipari, the Del Negro era goes out with something of a bang.
The Bulls' decision comes after ESPN reported in December that the Bulls would move forward without Del Negro, and six days after the Bulls were eliminated in five games by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
It was during that series in which news first surfaced publicly that executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson had a heated confrontation with Del Negro on March 30 over the playing time of center Joakim Noah, then recovering from a foot injury. The argument resulted in Paxson pushing Del Negro away, according to sources, after Del Negro got too close to Paxson.
Team sources also said Del Negro had come around the desk of Forman in a threatening manner during a heated discussion earlier in the season. Del Negro denied both accounts but it was clear that a shaky relationship with management had become irreparable.
Del Negro enjoyed a margin of support from friends and acquaintances like Reggie Miller and Charles Barkley speaking on his behalf on the national broadcast of the playoffs, and also Bulls' fans critical of the way the team strung out Del Negro's last months despite his second straight season leading the team to the playoffs.
Del Negro's tenure with the Bulls, sources said, was temporarily extended with the team's spike in performance after the Christmas holidays, when they won nine of 11 games in one January stretch, including five straight road games against Western Conference winning teams, and 13 victories in 18 games overall.
Del Negro's camp contended that he helped in the development of Noah and NBA All-Star Derrick Rose, as well as rookie Taj Gibson while surviving a season rife with injury in the wake of high-scoring guard Ben Gordon's departure.
At the same time, there were those who said it was only because of Paxson's intervention that Rose was able to flourish after being held out of critical parts of the game by Del Negro. And whispers came from Bulls' players who were less than impressed with Del Negro's leadership and coaching ability, and did not speak out emphatically in his defense in the last days of the season.
There were reports that Del Negro was taking statements from witnesses to the Paxson incident, and that the team had consulted their lawyers. Sources said that Forman met with all the principle parties in the organization over the past several days, but that the Del Negro-Paxson altercation on March 30 was not the main reason he was relieved of his duties. Del Negro wanted to avoid any lasting ill will from the Bulls that might affect his coaching future in the league.
Melissa Isaacson is a columnist for ESPNChicago.com.
I think Avery Johnson is the guy the Bulls organization should go after. Byron Scott is another possibility.
Jeff Van Gundy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! come back to the NBA
i think byron scott is a bad choice i think his system would stunt roses growth look back at the pgs he had that didn't like him or didn't excel in his system Jason Kidd and Chris Paul and the hornets and nets fired him
Jason Kidd had a MVP season with Byron Scott as his coach. So did Chris Paul, not to mention Paul had a great relationship with Scott. So how would Byron Scott stunt the growth of Rose? I'm confused about that one...
Collins has been out for to long. Phil will never leave Malibu for the cold weather of Chicago, he is old and arthritic.
Eric Musselman? I would rather just keep Vinny.
Chicago is a major market, why do we have to settle for guys like Vinny, Musselman, Frank, etc. No more rookie or washed up recycled coaches!!
I would take Scott or Van Gundy.
I think Mark Jackson should be a candidate for the position, he would help groom Rose into a better passing point.
And Avery Johnson?? No way Knicksfan.
No way Bryon Scott, a former PG, stunts Rose's growth.
To be honest, Del Negro didn't have the pieces to do anything great. The Bulls lack a true shooter (Hinrich is their best shooter, and he's only slightly above average as a shooter IMO) and they don't have an offensive post presence, so the Bulls were basically limited to pick-and-roll and isos with Rose. When you have Rose and the lack of offensive talent that Chicago had, pick and roll with a freak like Rose is not all that bad. Not good enough to win anything (as we see now), but it's not exactly a disaster like most people are making Del Negro's coaching out to be. He worked pretty well with what he had IMO. It's kind of like how you only give a rookie or freshman QB in football a select few basic plays to run until the personnel fits or until they master the offense. The Bulls were a more versatile offensive team when they had the threat of Ben Gordon shooting/scoring, so I don't think it's right to make Del Negro is a bad coach. He may get fired though because of turmoil with the organization, but his coaching has been blown slightly out of proportion.
I think if you get the Bulls some better role players like a versatile pick-and-roll/pop player (Mike Beasley, Carlos Boozer or Amare) or a shooter whether in free agency (Joe Johnson) or in the draft (Xavier Henry, James Anderson, Paul George), then the true assessment of Del Negro as a coach should've begun.
Avery Johnson is a great defensive coach, but he's tough on his point guards... He micro-manages them from the sidelines.
Van Gundy would be a great coach, but he's too comfortable doing the job he's doing now. You can tell, since he has no bags under his eyes.
Mark Jackson sounds good, but he has no coaching experience. That's like Del Negro all over again.
Phil Jackson isn't coming back to Chicago.
Musselman was and is still a bum.
I think Scott or Thibadeu are the best options right about now, however if Doc Rivers retires... Thibadeu will be his successor.
Do you guys see Del Negro getting a shot anywhere else? or will he take a break as an announcer?
I just don't like listening to Avery Johnson, he aggravates me.
Iggy, you had to have watched the Bulls all year to really see how Vinny is just not ready to be a coach. His end of game decisions were awful.
A popular saying this year in Chicago was " Derrick Rose at the end of the game Vinny!"
Not one player spoke up on Vinny's behalf either. Rose said that he wanted him back but that is because Rose is too damn nice. I think they respected him as a man but not as a coach.
McDunkin, I don't see him coaching soon.
I will say this, he handled himself with class while the Bulls were totally classless with him all year. He is well respected in the NBA community, both Charles and Reggie always speak highly of him. Maybe that has something to do with the ex-player fraternity or something. Like I said, I am sure he is a great guy, just not a very good coach right now.
At least he didn't quit on the team like Skiles did. I can't hate on Skiles though, he seems to always take underachievers to the playoffs.
scotts Xs and Os are not that good and after a while paul and kidd started playing well in spite of him both paul and kidd said that the asst coaches really coached them
I expect this to go either way for them... It's sad that this has to happen but I think an upgrade should be good for the team in terms of coaching but let's look at this like this, Vinny did a decent job as a coach... 82-82? that's not bad at all considering the players that he has... Mr.6000 has mentioned the lack of quality players the Bulls have and it's definitely true... I thought one more year could have given Del Negro an opportunity to shine but I think his reationship with the management had gone sour and I don't think it'll work when you have a management that don't want you around anymore...
With that in mind, one thing's for sure is I really don't want Doug Collins and Avery Johnson as a coach for this team... The key to Rose's deveopment was Del Negro allows him to create and do what he does best which includes creating mistakes and I felt like Johnson is such a perfectionist to the point that he micro-manages everything about it.. Collins is too old... Period...
Maybe if Del Negro would've been more of a "yes man" like Jim O'Brien, he'd still have his job. Check out Jim O'Brien's record and please explain to me how he still has his job???
not really i bet the have Doug Collins there