Three things to make of this Paxson and VDN thing

So unless you're a casual Bulls fan or have been sleeping under a rock [unlikely for readers of this blog], you've heard about the Paxson/VDN conflict story by now.   I spent much of the night digesting the story and trying to figure out what I make of it.

First, it adds another level of intrigue to the New Jersey game.   Was there a legitimate miscommunication at this point?   It seems clear why VDN wasn't taking matters into his own hands and playing Noah more without permission, so the question is did he not really find out he had permission or did he not play Noah to spike management for the way they treated him for exceeding the minute limit by two minutes just recently?

I'm going to go with the first, since it's the life choice that makes the most sense.   It's more important to win than to spite people.   Now, I know plenty of people who would spite others even at great cost to themselves, and it's possible VDN is such a person, but I'm going to assume the best of him and think that isn't the case for now.

Next, any hint of a thought of Del Negro staying on next season is completely out the door.   Fans have felt this way for a long time, and there have been plenty of rumors [three separate sources have told me the Bulls plan to fire Del Negro at the end of the year dating back to December], but they were always rumors that you thought could be overridden by quality play by the team down the stretch. 

That's obviously not the case.   I think if the Bulls won the title this year they still might get rid of Del Negro at the end of the season.

Finally, and most importantly, we get our first real glimpse of why John Paxson has wanted to leave this job.   I've heard he's a hot head before, but wow.   This job is clearly eating him alive to start up a physical confrontation with Del Negro because Noah played two extra minutes.

There's really no excuse for what Paxon did, and I'm one of the few members left of the Paxson fan club.   This is the first real example of Paxson doing something which really scares me about his ability to run the team.  Is he making trades, signing contracts, or conducting other crucial Bulls business with this level of emotion and lack of control?    I sure hope not, but can no longer be sure.

I wouldn't be surprised if this incident ends his career with the Bulls.   Not because they'll fire him, but I think with it coming to light he may decide that he simply doesn't need this anymore.   Something he's been saying for a couple years anyway. 


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  • A short RE-ENACTMENT of the Paxson-Del Negro Fight.

    I think we all know which one is Paxson...haha.

  • "Is he making trades, signing contracts, or conducting other crucial Bulls business with this level of emotion and lack of control?"

    Well at least we know how Deng got his contract now. ;)

  • Yeah it was a joke. Pax seemed like a pretty analytical guy when you hear the interviews he gives, probably the only time he really seemed emotional about something was after trading Eddy Curry. Funnily enough, that turned out to be the best move he made.

    Going off the deep end over a few minutes for Noah seems like a straw that broke the camels back kind of thing, makes you wonder if Pax and VDN have been going at it for a long time over the way the team is coached.

  • One short term positive side to this might be the Bulls players are focussed and united and then can play the coach against management like a Phil Jackson/Jerry Krause deal. I know the players are still young and there is nobody like MJ but hoping for the best.

    BTW, there should be more to this story. Why would Noah playing a few mins extra incense John Paxson so much? After all, it is a well known injury(Plantar Fasciitis). This was not a career long injury and it was well reported that it would not cause any career threatening injury.

  • Paxson needs to be more of a PROFESSIONAL. He can't lose his cool like that.

    Personally, I hope David Stern comes calling for him.

  • I think it's easy to argue that Paxson got too emotionally attached to his core of Hinrich, Deng and Nocioni, too.

  • I hate to be a drama queen, but you just can't instigate a physical altercation with a subordinate. Talk about a hostile work environment! And this is a clear abuse of power.

    As for Pax doing his job, I actually think he has done a great job with player decisions. He has consistently made the right draft choice with Ty Thomas being the only glaring exception, and we can all agree Thomas was loaded with talent, so who can fault him.

    That being said, Pax needs to go. You don't fight at work. Period. Completely unacceptable! Save those shenanigans for the commute home.

  • If premier free agents look at the teams talent level,the coming coaching changes and the clueless Paxson. They will not sign in Chicago. Paxson is not capable of building a winner, ever!

  • I don't know much about John Paxson personally since he took off the uniform because you rarely see him. Even with the interviews he's done in the past as G.M he doesn't really say much that isn't guarded or interesting really. I'm sure most execs conduct themselves in this manner, but still a dynamic personality at any level can inspire people(either to liking or hating), or give some interesting angles on things you never thought of before.

    To me Pax has been so guarded and conservative in his approach that I don't know if such precautions bespeak of a man who's uncomfortable with his position, and really not meant for the job.

    I will say John was a tough, gritty player who definitely could handle the pressure of playing with the greatest basketball player of all time in a constant expectations built for winning machine.

    I've said before I think Doug has overrated Pax's job performance(please still give me the tickets - i.e. I love you man). But aside from some major mistakes including I don't care what the conventional wisdom said, the Ben Wallace acquisition from a sheer wisdom, professional standpoint was the wrong move at his age and the lowest rebounding total in six years

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    Thats nice and all but I think most people could care less about about how nice guys are and just want winners. Pax could be the spawn of satan for all I care so long as he was a awesome GM.

    Fact is Pax is just kinda average at best as far as GM's go so having something like this happen when we are trying to attract big free agents and coach's in the off season is inexcusable.

  • In reply to frozentear:

    Fact is many people "only" care about results. I care about results. I wish Pax would have been off the job myself for some time. But as an individual I do value him, and I'm sure as hell glad there's people I can admire and that are not the spawn of satan. Really no need for that aisde dude. We all now he's not succeeeded, and probably should have been off the job a little ways back.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    You say you admire pax. Do you really know pax well enough to to say for sure that you admire him as a person( maybe you do know him personally, I don't know)?

    I can say for sure that I would have never expected pax to put his hands on his coach and try to pick a fight with him before this came up.I thought he was a decent dude that wouldn't do something like that but when I think about it I don't know him well enough to know that he would or wouldn't. We don't know much about these guys outside of there shoveled pr image and what we assume they are like based on what they say in controlled press conferences and sound bites. If I want want people to look up to I'll stick to people I know and that matter and not sports guys and celebrities.

  • In reply to frozentear:

    If you really feel like you know nothing about Derrick Rose, John Paxson if you watched him play then I'd say I'm glad I'm not you. I can't admire Derrick Rose or Pax?

    I'm not here to argue, but saying you don't care if someone is the spawn of Satan..? Unfortunately there are a lot of people who think that way. And what, you've never had the passion to make a mistake, offend somebody, shove somebody. He didn't even punch the guy. Should he be fired?Yeah, maybe so. But you sound more like a cold lawyer then a real fan. And normally I wouldn't spend my time on this but I had a little time to kill today. I'm guessing from your inane banter you have a lot of these moments to go on bitching about a guy as you say you could care less if he's the spawn of Satan which is just plain dumb. Mine was a thought out sentiment about someone I've had a connection with as a fan for years. State your opinion, but don' come bitching to me that you don't care if people are the spawn of satan, and at the same time moralize about their "attrocious actions of shoving someone!!" Dude what a joke.

  • In reply to frozentear:

    Where is Reinsdorf in this kerfuffle?! If anything, he is the one responsible for creating this mess.

  • In reply to frozentear:


    As the story goes, he had the story...and told Craig Sager off the air that he sat on it. Sager promptly threw him under the bus and Reggie Miller also ripped him a little bit.

    Bottom line, you cant be an employee of the team your reporting on. Period.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    I also find it funny that so many people are trying to defend pax by saying he just has the fire and the passion while I garuntee if this was a player being frustrated and bumped a coach he would be a thug. I'm not sayin, I'm just sayin.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    Ps. Boo to Kc Johnson for holding the story.

    Be a journalist. Thats unacceptable and his readers deserve better.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    KC Johnson sat on the story?! I was wondering why it was YahooSports breaking the news. But I guess he needs to be on VDN and Paxson's good books as a beat reporter.

  • In reply to frozentear:

    Oh Paxson. I knew something was wrong when it was first rumored that he wanted to quit his GM post because of the pressure. Especially with some of the missteps he made e.g. the Lamarcus Aldridge for Tyrus Thomas trade.

  • Sure...after they had lost all value..

  • I'd agree with you in most cases, but I'm not sure about news like this. But I respect what you're saying as a professional. Certainly IMO K.C. should get no long term grief for this. But unfortunately the people they report on who make mistakes often do get grief for an eternity on the mistakes they make. For those who think this was one which there are some.

  • BTW, we do have a game tonight ;). What do you guys think about Larry Brown playing all his starters? Personally, I wish for the INTEGRITY of the game, that he would SIT all his starters. I mean who wants a first round series sweep by the Cavs of a beat-up, Bosh-less, Raptors team? I am sure the casual fan would prefer the Cavs sweep of a scrappy Bulls team!

  • My only hope is that Paxson finally decides to resign over this like he almost did last year. He has proven he doesn't have the temperament to be a effective GM. Really one of the most overrated GM's we've ever had in this town.

  • Doug-

    I completely understand your point. However, it appears KC was holding out and as a result got "scooped" by Yahoo....then to come out and say, "well I was gonna report it later" just makes you look worse.

    Access is one thing but IMO as a reporter you stand to lose more for being viewed as a "company man". Right or wrong, he now has to deal with that.

  • Does every beat reporter hold out information regarding a fight between the GM and head coach?

    Come on, thats a big deal, thats not two players scrapping in the locker room.

    I like KC, this wont change my opinion of his writing, but you've got to report that.

    His editor was on the score, and basically reiterated what I said, that his only responsiblity is to the readers.

  • Hopefully this altercation is the tipping point. I don't think anyone actually believes that even if the Bulls make the playoffs they have a shot against the Cavs.

    But what they do have is a good core. Not great, but good. Most teams would trade anything to have a young big/small core of Noah and Rose. My point is that the Bulls for the first time in a long time are in a position of positive transition. And a new regime is needed to take this team to the next level.

    So clear out Vinnie. Let Pax walk away. If Gar stays on, fine - but bring in some new blood. A fresh outlook at the top, a new coach in tow, and a promising young core and cap space to work with.

  • Does every beat reporter hold out information regarding a fight between the GM and head coach?

    Come on, thats a big deal, thats not two players scrapping in the locker room.

    I like KC, this wont change my opinion of his writing, but you've got to report that.

    His editor was on the score, and basically reiterated what I said, that his only responsiblity is to the readers.

  • Doug you nailed it. I too was one of the few supporters for Paxson. Think he does a decent job of evaluating talent, brought in Skiles, made a splash getting Wallace, made some good trades to ensure cap flex in 2K10. In hindsight, some of these weren't the best moves but we were excited about them. This situation makes me sick. I no longer have any faith in Paxson. While I hope something positive comes out of this story, I also wish it never leaked. I mean this was front paage news on Yahoo! How embarassing.

    Really disappointed in the Bulls.

  • Its mind boggling to me I'd never think Paxson would be the kind to assualt someone(he always come across as a family type of guy)but then again Paxson has been pretty emotional and begging to get out of the job, and Paxson has been a dedicated fan like the rest of us and we all know we have wanted to hit del negro just by watching his play calling and player management, this whole season, I dont take either's side in this case and this is really bad for the organzation. I think Del Negro needs to be fired after this year and Paxson needs to walk away.

  • Well now ESPN is reporting a source said Del Negro initiated contact and that he got in a scuffle with Gar once before too. Guess we should wait till the facts come out before we start writing people off.

  • according to sources:

    Paxson put his head in VDN's office and said something insulting. VDN got up and said "fuck you" to Paxson at which point he was walking towards him.

    Pax then grabbed him by the tie and poked him in the which point the shoving ensued.

    Thats how I heard it.

  • The players should have a meeting and decide what punishment these guys should get ;)

  • I think both Pax and VDN should AT LEAST have to run laps at the next practice.

    Good thing Roger Goodell isnt the commish for the NBA or both might be suspended!

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