Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 at 9:00 am  |  30 responses

John Paxson vs. Vinny Del Negro

by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

The Chicago Bulls are fighting tooth and nail to sneak into the postseason. They are also, reportedly, fighting each other.

A report came out last night alleging that Bulls VP John Paxson shoved head coach Vinny Del Negro in the chest twice following a Bulls loss in Phoenix on March 30th. The disagreement was over Joakim Noah’s minutes, something that continues to be a hot-button issue in Chicago.

From Yahoo!:

After a loss to the Phoenix Suns on March 30, an irate Paxson walked into the coach’s office at the United Center and confronted Del Negro over a narrow breach of a management-imposed minutes limit on injured forward Joakim Noah(notes). Sources said Paxson first grabbed a hold of Del Negro’s tie and seemingly tried to provoke him with two successive jabs into his chest. Paxson was even heard to angrily challenge Del Negro to a fight.

There were several staff members present, sources said, and assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff stepped between Paxson and Del Negro and pulled Paxson away.

Sources said Del Negro did not retaliate, mostly out of fear the incident could be used to void his contract without pay or hurt future career opportunities elsewhere. The Bulls have dispatched lawyers to interview witnesses about the incident, sources said.

Del Negro — a man who has been on the proverbial hot seat for what seems like forever now — smartly danced around reporters’ questions about the incident last night.

Vinny won’t be the only one getting scrutinized by upper management this offseason in Chicago; following this embarrassing incident, Jerry Reinsdorf and company will also need to decide if John Paxson is the right man to lead the franchise going forward.

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  • slamfan4life

    As a Bulls fan, I’m not surprised

    there were times i wanted to kick vinnys ass too

  • Zach

    We need to get Vinny out of there. i even think we need to get rid of Paxson. I love the guy but he hasn’t done anything to get this team to be contenders. we have been the same status for like 4 years. There has to be some changes this off season

  • Mike

    Bring in Mark Jackson to coach and fire Paxson. That’s disgraceful for the GM and Head Coach to be fighting.

  • JoeMaMa

    Everyone’s fighting over Joakim Noah again. People, there’s only one of him! Form a line!

  • http://twitter.com/DIJones82 Dion

    You guys can’t be serious. We have the weakest roster of any team with a chance to make the playoffs in the entire league!!! And here we are one game away from the 8th seed and a .500 record. Vinny has done a damn good job with what he has to work with. One thing about Vinny is that the players like him. Vinny is also a flexible coach, once he gets some more players in their next year the Bulls will run a better offensive scheme.

    As far as John Paxson, let him go. Why would you challenge your coach to a fight in front of staff.

  • Michael Scorn

    Just make Noah player/coach already.

  • Fat Lever

    I give Del Negro props for having the foresight to think about his future amidst all the instigation tactics Paxson was throwing at him and not retaliating. I’m saying this because if I had been in Del Negro’s position, Paxson would have played Debo to my Cube.

  • Jeff Henderson

    I think Vinny has done fine, at the beginning of the year based on their team this is where many experts picked them to be. Regardless of the coach man Is D-Rose special. Having him and Noah for years to come is going to be fun to watch.

  • nastierthanu

    I guess all those yrs playin with jordan rubbed off. These guys were athetes. The competitive fire is what got them their jobs in the 1st place. Paxs was outta line but at least he was passionate enuf to get in the vinny’s face about it. Respect to both men. Everyone on this site who’s ever played the game has gotten into it with somebody. No blood no foul

  • http://www.nottherealmelvinely.com melvin ely

    whoever this “unidentified source” is should get his a$$ fired, sued, and beat up (not necessarily in that order). Come on, it’s not like the Bulls are the only team in the league having internal turmoil issues (Dre v. Nate anyone?) but to have a close team associate actually snitch to the media something which is by far an internal issue? Unconscionable.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    @nastierthanthu – er, are you just making a general point, or trying to say something about the article?
    Because Pax was mad at VDN over Noah’s PT and potential injury risk.. it’s got nothing to do with passion or Jordan or anyone else. Or I’ve missed your point completely, to which I apologise.

  • Tommy Patron

    Paxson s*cks. He is the major problem here. Del Negro is okay. He struggles with sub patterns and leaves bad lineups on the floor too long sometimes, but overall has done a good job with what he has. The players still go hard for him.

  • mattyd

    Time to clean shop, there have been too many bad decisions by this collective group, GarPax need to be gone so this team can get some real management in the Organization to build around their key players (Rose/Noah) and bring is WORTHWHILE talent. I’m sick of the Pargo’s of the world.

  • http://futureprobe.blogspot.com Future Guy

    Don’t blame Vinnie, don’t blame Pax, blame Jerry Reinsdorf. He’s the incompetent cheapskate who hired Pax and Forman. He’s the guy who was too cheap to pay for a coach with actual NBA coaching experience, which is why Vinnie was hired. Del Negro has actually done a good job, considering the fact that he had never even had an asst. coaching job before this. Things will never really improve in Chicago until the Bulls get new ownership.

  • LA Huey

    Joakim is so hot

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    Alien vs Predator!

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    where’s Russ?

  • Tommy Patron

    @Future Guy-In the future, where you come from, is there no record of the SIX championships the Bulls have won under current ownership? I’m not in love with Reinsdorf, either, but, come on.

  • Sparty’s Law

    They need to fire one of them, right?

  • Tommy Patron

    Time to axe Pax.

  • http://myspace.com/weezyleezy337 GametimeWeezy

    Joakim Noah said: “BANGGG EM!!!”

  • Scottie Pimpin

    gotta love pax fighting for his players, and also gotta love how vinny handled the situation like a tru pro during the interviews.

  • Rob

    Doc Rivers defending Del Negro’s job yesterday was a nice gesture.

  • Tommy Patron


  • http://www.nba.com/suns Dacre

    @Melvin ELy – I agree to a point with you. BUT the commentators, brought up this incident during the national telecast of Suns v Nugs yesterday (SUNS FLOGGED THEM).
    Paxson is a shocking GM and should be replaced.
    Vinny Del Negro is an okay coach, works with what he has been given but surely there is an upgrade close by (Avery Johson?).
    Let me just reiterate how strong the Suns are right now – You better get your hand fixed Kobe!!

  • http://slamonline.com Dave

    There’s a reason Del Negro doesn’t respond, and it’s not about being a professional, it’s because it’s true and – according to ESPN – he started the fight.

  • Ronald

    All those that rag on VDN can you guys please explain why he’s supposedly such a bad coach?

  • http://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    Point taken Dacre. I’m just mad that at the bottom line, someone on the Bulls org slipped up and let this issue out into the open. Also, yeah the Suns are BALLIN’. It’s funny that their recent win came at the expense of the Nugs, who look like their exact opposite right now. @Ronald, I think it actually stems from the fact that the Bulls started out terribad this season, and a lot of people were calling out for Vinny’s head to get the axe, and that conception kind of stuck even with the Bulls playing the way they are now.

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Cosign Dacre (he’s en fuego lately): better get your hand fixed, Kob’s. Or not, i do enjoy him shooting 6-21 through 3 qtr’s then getting so angry he can’t even make clutch freethrow’s anymore…
    GO DIRK, i mean Mavs.

  • Tommy Patron

    @Dave-Be careful taking TMZSPN as the foremost authority, especially when it’s an anonymous source coming out after the initial story. They consistently put out unconfirmed items, then just let them fade.