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Report: Vinny Del Negro fired in Chicago

May 3, 2010, 7:49 PM EDT

UPDATE 7:59 pm: The Bulls have called a press conference for noon tomorrow to make this all official. As if it isn’t already.

7:18 pm: At least he’s not twisting in the wind anymore.

After taking their sweet time to get around to it, the Chicago Bulls have fired Vinny Del Negro, according to the CBS station in Chicago.

This move was the opposite of a surprise, rumors had been swirling around him since the start of the season. Del Negro had met with owner Jerry Reinsdorf Sunday at the end of a series of organizational meetings and the firing was expected to come tomorrow, but the sooner the more merciful.

In two years, Del Negro was 82-82 as the head of the Bulls. His detractors pointed to a very simplistic offense that relied heavily — even by NBA standards — on the pick-and-roll. His rotations were questionable, as were his in-game adjustments, defensive coaching and use of timeouts.

There had been clashes between team Vice President John Paxson and Del Negro, clashes that had gotten physical. The clashes reportedly had been over limiting the minutes of Joakim Noah as he came off injury, although it ran deeper than that. However, officials have said the firing has nothing to do with that. Right.

Say what you will of Del Negro, his players busted it hard for him. He took a limited roster — one that this season had been stripped down to clear cap room, had mid-season trades of key players and had a rash of injuries — to the playoffs both years. Last year the Bulls pushed the Celtics to seven games in the first round.

In addition, the two stars of the team — Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah — had come out in support of Del Negro.

But this move was really about the Bulls management feeling it needed to make a move that would entice a big free agent to come to the Windy City. Chicago has a lot to offer hometown boy Dwyane Wade or a center like Chris Bosh — great city, good talent on the roster, history of winning, and most importantly a lot of money (and cap space) to stock the roster with talent.

The Bulls have not yet reached out to another coach, however they are said to want somebody with NBA head coaching experience. Coaches listed as potential replacements include Doug Collins (which would be a second time around, so probably not), Lawrence Frank, Kevin McHale, Maurice Cheeks, Byron Scott and Dwane Casey. Ironically, the coach the Bulls hired that had the most success — Phil Jackson — had no NBA head coaching experience at the time.

  1. Gary Pressley - May 3, 2010 at 9:27 PM

    I do not believe Vinny was treated correctly.He took the Bulls to the playoffs two consecutive years w/o a major talent outside of Drrick Rose. He managed to have the bulls play well in serious games and deserved more time.I do not even believe they have a replacement lined up that is of serious caliber

  2. Otis J. Williams - May 3, 2010 at 10:01 PM

    Having been a basketball coach in the Catholic League in Chicago, I found that Vinny lost seven to nine games based on poor coaching. In the beginning of the year, the Bulls could not play defense. time and time again, other teams would drive through the defensive scheme that he had in place. Game after game there was little or no improvement.
    Someone needed to teach the big men how to play “cover defense in the back line, someone should have taught them how to stay on their feet and not go for a ball fake, someone needed to have taught them how to protect the baseline and not give the man the baseline, someone should have taught them how to block out on defense and how to get low in the front court to protect against drives. Players needed to have learned how to give ground and not let a man drive by you.
    Time and time again, Luol was chasing his man going to the basket. This was a frustrating year. Management didn’t make matter much better because of the tension in the air. give the players a lot of credit. they did not quit on Vinny. Vinny just was not the right man for the Bulls at this time. They need a more seaasoned coach who can develop players and teach defense as well as offense.
    I screamed hollered and shouted many a day until I was hoarse at the poor quality of defense. The poor use of timeouts, the rotation and the substitutions sometimes left me scratching my head.
    Just think how far the Bulls could have gone with good coaching. If Larry Brown is available – get him. He can take the Bulls next year to the finals with two good free agents.
    Clear the bench of the men who can not provide depth to the team. Kirk needs to be a sixth man. He can not shoot consistently. Good defender, but poor shooter especially when it comes to consistency. Send james Jones toa developmental league. He’s got much too learn.
    I could go on and on, but I don’t want to dump on vinny any more. it’s apparent that a new coach will be selected. My vote is for Larry Brown.

  3. Matt - May 3, 2010 at 10:07 PM

    I think Del Negro was treated unfairly ever since the reports came out in December that he was going to be fired. However, this is still the right move in my opinion. He’s still not a great coach. The simple strategies and poor time management don’t warrant you a third season. Let’s be honest, he should have never been hired in the first place. You can blame the genius owner for ruining the Mike D’Antoni hiring and wussing out on bringing in Doug Collins. People forget that those were John Paxson’s top choices, but Jerry Reinsdorf screwed it up and left Bulls’ management with slim pickings. Hopefully an experienced coach like Collins, Scott, Van Gundy, or Johnson is brought in to coach this team. Another first time project is not worth it. Also, in regards to Phil Jackson, at least he had experience coaching in the CBA and on Collins’ bench as an assistant. Del Negro had absolutely NONE. That’s what made it a head scratcher.

  4. greg singh - May 4, 2010 at 12:05 AM

    Whatever the opposite of a “class act” is, that’s the best way to describe the Bulls organization.

  5. MattC - May 4, 2010 at 12:10 AM

    What coach in his right mind wants to come take orders from some GM in a suit about how to manage his starters’ minutes and get physically accosted when you fail to fall in line? If I had the pedigree of some of the purported replacements, my first condition would be Paxson goes. Del Negro got the shaft. I can’t believe he got that ragtag team to the playoffs this year, and his players never quit on him.
    A new coach can hopefully learn the technical details of coaching… it’s very hard to learn the intangibles, such as getting your players to respond to you. It seems Del Negro had that, at least to this casual observer. He certainly has “it” a lot more so than our resident buffoon here in Cleveland, Mike Brown does.

  6. iceberg - May 4, 2010 at 11:05 AM

    At first when the Bulls hired Vinny I felt it was a big mistake but later he proved he can coach and was doing a decent job at what he had. I think he should have been given at least one more year. Taking a team to the playoffs and only lasting one round is not good enough. But since Management hired him w/o any head coaching experience then how can they expect a quick turnaround. Maybe someone in management should be fired.

  7. JoAnnA E. Foris - May 4, 2010 at 11:11 AM

    ” Nobody should fight w/ Sr. Staff of an NBA or otherwise Team, what Vinny DelNegro did was not a smart thing… The Ch. Bulls need to hire some HC w/ Plenty of experience.”

  8. Anonymous - May 4, 2010 at 11:34 AM

    With no disrespect the problems that you speak of are basic basketball principles 101. Teaching an nba player not to go for a ball fake is like teaching an nfl player not to jump offsides. They already know what to do. Maybe Del Negro should have reinforced that position, but to say that those types of mistakes fall back on the coach at an NBA level is a foolish statement. I dont really care for Del Negro as a coach, but he did a decent job with the roster he was given.

  9. RumbleJumbleBrownieCakes - May 4, 2010 at 12:11 PM

    Having once watched a basketball game in Chicago, I found that Vinny won 13 to 46 games based on good coaching.

  10. Randall - May 4, 2010 at 12:19 PM

    The Bulls did him a favor. He won’t have a problem finding a job; for a rookie, dealing w/ an antagonistic front office, he did very well. He knows what to work on, he’ll be much happier elsewhere.

  11. Wayne - May 4, 2010 at 12:22 PM

    I am surprised that all of the comments up to this point have neglected the most obvious point; the reason that MJ left, the reason that Phil left, the reason that the Bulls have struggled since the mass exodus is management. Regardless of whether or not Vinny was the right person for the job, management keeps screwing up to the point that with all of the cap room in the world, what player would want to be a Bull now?

  12. porphyre stoudamire - May 6, 2010 at 11:52 PM

    what do you mean when you say there have been physical discussions between vinny and bulls vicepresident? Physical, really?

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