Did the Bulls hire Del Negro to fire him this season?

So Vinny Del Negro is finally gone, and it got me to thinking:   Did the Bulls hire this guy with the intention of firing him a couple of years later?

The Bulls were planning for 2010 free agency for an awfully long time.   This went back at least three seasons as John Paxson told me they were planning it in a candid interview at Orlando Summer League three years ago.

So, with that in mind, the Bulls were looking to develop their young players while biding time to strike in free agency.   What kind of coach do you want for that role?

Well, first, you probably want someone pretty cheap.   Especially if your organization cares a lot about it's bottom line and doesn't really have high expectations for the next couple of seasons anyway.

You want someone enthusiastic who's willing to work with young players and won't ride the veterans 40 minutes a night (Jim Boylan says hi).    

You want someone who will sign a short term deal, so that when the summer of 2010 finally does role around, and you can replace him with the "get to point C" coach as the roster improves that it won't cost you multiple years of salary.

Enter Vinny Del Negro, and while this may not have been the plan all along, the pieces certainly fit pretty well together as if it was the plan.   Also, let's be clear, if it was the plan, it was a Reinsdorfian plan as well.

John Paxson clearly wanted to drop the cash on Mike D'Antoni who suddenly decided that the Knicks job looked awfully bad ass after spending an afternoon with Reinsdorf. 

Have I gone crazy?   Too much conspiracy?   Not sure, but the pieces fit (if you're really cynical anyway).



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  • Could it be possible that management wants to woo a potential max FA by saying, "Hey, look at us. We are ONE piece away from title contention and YOU get to pick the coach" ????

  • I don't read that much into the VDN hire. Collins and D'Antoni fell through, so VDN was STEPPED-UP and took the job.

    As far as the future goes, the only two potential replacements I like are MO CHEEKS and SAM MITCHELL.

    If the Bulls management is all about the development of DROSE, then it should be MO CHEEKS.

    If the Bulls management is trying to recruit CHRIS BOSH, then it could be SAM MITCHELL.

    I prefer MO CHEEKS, but I wouldn't mind SAM MITCHELL, especially if his hire leads to CHRIS BOSH.

  • There's one obvious problem with your theory: if that was the plan, why give him a 3 year contract and not a 2 year one?

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    And why give Deng that big deal and nit dump Kirk for room for a second star? Seems kinda half assed with numerous teams having room for 2 max guys. You could have had Rose, Salmons, JJ, Taj and Noah plus two max guys and mle type cap room.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:


    Bulls.com and CSNCHICAGO.com are both streaming Gar Forman's PC at 11am.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Oh. Hi, Jim! ....go **** yourself.

  • I don't think it's a conspiracy, but I think that might have had something to do with Jerry not paying D'Antoni. He's asking himself why he's about to break the bank for a coach for his .500 team and finds an answer he's happy with.

  • I hadn't thought of it this way before, but maybe you're right, Doug. And if this is true, it makes me even more excited for this offseason because if the Bulls are putting all their eggs in this basket - there all in on this summer. No more waiting, no more excuses. I'm excited. Maybe it doesn't work out, but hey, you gotta love the moxie in trying for once. The number one complaint we've had as fans over the years is the Bulls' inability to make a big move. Well, they've been waiting, plotting, and scheming...and now they've got to make a big coaching move, and big free agent moves. It's going to be fun.

  • I feel this was more of a panic move as some feel. Also, if Bulls make a quick move on hiring a good coach, it shouldn't hurt them.
    In hindsight, I wish they had hired Doug Collins for a 2/3 year contract in 2008 and Vinny as the assistant/Head Coach to be.

    But I am still concerned on VDN/Paxson fight on how it is played out with the FA/Agents. We also hear about how D'Antoni is loved by players and they want to play for him.
    One thing I hope is if they hire Van Gundy, they make sure he is not going to run that slow offense and he will cater to the strengths of the players. That said, he will make them play defense.

  • Did the Bulls hire Del Negro to fire him this season? YES

  • Doug, we all know the Chicago Bulls front office ongoing dysfucntion with the Reinsdorf to D'Antoni, "If you expect to get something done this weekend you can forget it," and Gar Forman, "of course we're interested in (re)signing Ben Gordon" but who could forget to the question of have/would the Bulls try to get rid of Hinrich's big contract, "[We want Kirk on our ballclub] We like Kirk. Kirk's our glue guy." Reiterating Derrick's comment plausibly evading/denying the question. Yes, a cavalcade of misinformation and contemptuous posturing.

    Here's how a class orgainization would handle these questions/issues. To the D'Antoni "dalliance" as K.C. Johnson antiquatedly refers to in a homoerotic, nerdy categorization: "We don't want an extensive contract name coach right now with this very young and developing nucleus. We're looking for a fresh face, and see if the can grow along with our young core." That would have been a bascially honest and acceptable answer.

    As to Kirk the question have you been and are you still looking to move Kirk Hinrich's contract: "We love Kirk. His effort defensively sets the tone for this ballclub. His work ethic is professional and committed. Have we explored a trade due to financial contraints that have come upon us with a shrinking cap caused by the downturn in the economy? Of course you have look at those things. But we remain happy to have Kirk with us." Now what would be wrong with that instead of dodging questions with a slogan/contemptible "glue guy" answer.

    This Bulls operation reminds me of some shady White House spin control, 'we can never really tell the truth so that only we really know what's going on, and are therefore completely in charge of our own destiny."

    So yes the phony dare we say sneaky atmosphere exists. But hiring an inexperienced coach on the cheap whom you do like some things about, and you give them a chance. Do you expect them to be a success? Not necessarily. Do you think it's possible? Sure. Why would you hire someone you have zero percent belief can succeed? At least pick someone who has some potential, and then of you get lucky - great. If not, then yes you are free to drop the last year of a fairly low priced contract, and look for a vet/name guy when the superstar/star 2010 pick up occurrs/elevates your team to hopefully worthy of an expensive/desirable name coach. Turns out as the odds would suggest they didn't luck out with no-name, no experience Vinny. But in this case rather then being saddled with D'Antoni(which looks in hindisght like No D D'Antoni would have been a mistake) maybe not a bad move/strategy.

    It's just the phony posturing and dishonest way of communicating to the fans that make me view them as bad guys regardless of whether they pulled some Machiavellian scheme like hire to fire. Which in a sense they did, but with the chance to get lucky. Nothing wrong with that. But plenty wrong with the Bulls orginiaztion.

    Gar Forman needs to get a f-ing backbone, and tell Reinsdorf he will adhere strictly to the company game plan, but handle communications his way hopefully in an adult, mature, and respectful manner the fans deserve. And there's just no reason why this can not coexist with a successful franchise. In fact, it makes it much more of a likely event.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    Paxson-Forman 2012!

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    i feel bad for Vinny. He got a bad deal. Took the team to two playoffs and possibly the greatest first round series ever against the Celts. Had to constantly deal with injuries and inconsistent play from Deng and Kirk, and first round busts like Tyrus and James. Not to mention that he had ding bat Paxson breathing down his neck. I wonder if Pax would have done that to an experienced coach like Phil Jackson or Larry Brown.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    Paxson says he is not involved in day-to-day and Gar Forman makes the decisions...so should we blame Gar for this mess? I think Jerry has much to do with everything he seems to make all the final decisions. Hope they get the next two big decisions right! They will make or break this franchise over the next 5-6 seasons.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    My ideal Bulls' coaching staff:

    Head Coach - Maurice Cheeks
    Asst. Coach - Scottie Pippen
    Asst. Coach - Ron Harper

    I think Cheeks could take Derrick Rose's game to the next level, especially on the defensive-side of the ball, while Pippen and Harper could restore a championship face on this Bulls' organization, not too mention help the development of Deng and Johnson among others.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    I like that. Take a page from the Blackhawks book and bring back the former champions.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Mo Cheeks? The guy who has had two winning seasons in 8 years of being head coach? The same guy who didn't have a single winning season is his last job (3+ seasons) as coach of the Sixers?

    That's the ideal head coach?

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Pippen might be too much of a loose cannon to be an assistant or a head coach for that matter, still I don't hate the idea, even though I am not a huge fan of cheeks.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:


    When Gar Forman said that the March 30th incident between VDN and JP had NOTHING TO DO with VDN's removal as coach.

    That's just more BS by the Bulls' novice management.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    Mo Cheeks with Pip and or Harp would be great...I cannot recall if Mo Cheeks coached Scottie in portland or not.
    I do not much like the idea of former Laker B Scott as coach here

  • In reply to drob:

    Pip did play for Mo in Portland.


    I would like to see a re-union in Chicago.

  • In reply to drob:

    I think the bulls hired Del Negro because they needed a coach before the season started, they had already missed out on others so Del Negro was available and for cheap. Hopefully the bulls fired him because they have someone in mind or a plan. Hey Doug are you planning on doing player grades for the bulls for an end of the season review?

  • In reply to drob:

    Tyrus Thomas for coach!

  • In reply to drob:

    Dickey Simpkins for coach...haha.

  • In reply to drob:

    Pip as an assistant? Let's look at this from Pippen's perspective. He's a Hall of Fame player with 6 rings. He isn't playing second fiddle to Mo Cheeks.

    If you think he would even consider it, you haven't been paying attention.

    Are you interested in being the assistant to someone you view as far inferior? Neither is he.

  • In reply to KenyattaWright:

    I doubt Pippen is going to pull a VDN and get a Head Coaching job w/o experience.

    He would do him and the Bulls good to give him an official position with the organization. I think Assistant Coach to Maurice Cheeks would be perfect on a variety of levels for Pippen.

  • In reply to drob:

    Short and simple although you forgot C/F for Pargo and C/C for Flip Murray. I dont think Acie law was given a chance so its hard to give him a grade and Hakim was D+ like material.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    I don't think the Bulls hired VDN to fire him this season. They hired someone who would be appropriate for a mediocre team for 2 seasons. Because, of course, that was always the plan. Be middling for 2 years while you free up cap room for 2010. To do that, though, you need someone to mind the store for those two years. Someone who will develop the team and not crash and burn (or "Boylan it", if you will). So they hired VDN to be that guy and then see what happens in 2010, and go from there.

    So, I guess, they didn't hire him with the specific plan to fire him in 2010. They hired him to be low cost and low risk in 2008 and 2009. What happened after that wasn't really the issue, IMHO.

  • Maybe so, but their altercation SEALED THE DEAL.

  • They'd still had plenty of talent. Rose, Salmons, Taj, JJ and Noah is a lot of talent. Fill in a sg or sf and pf, the most common fas available and you have a contender.

  • Because he had every other team in the league clamoring over his services?

  • Calipari interested in the Bulls? That would be sweet!

  • In reply to zachmanisback:

    Calipari should and probably will stay in college.

    That's where he belongs.

  • In reply to zachmanisback:

    Contrary to what Gar Forman says, the Bulls need a Head Coach in place sooner than later. His comments about NO TIMETABLE are naive and misguided.

    They should have their list of candidates already. If we as fans know who is outthere, so should Paxson and Forman. They need to do their background checks and research this week and then start doing interviews by next week.

    I would be disappointed if Maurice Cheeks isn't the hire.

  • In reply to zachmanisback:


    1.) Maurice Cheeks

    2.) Byron Scott

    3.) Avery Johnson

    4.) Doug Collins

    5.) Jeff Van Gundy

    6.) Sam Mitchell

    7.) Eric Musselmen

    8.) Lawrence Frank

    9.) Coach K

    10.) John Calipari

    * Maurice Cheeks is the man I hope gets the job.

    Who else is outthere that fits their needs? I don't see anybody else.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    I alway put Avery Johnson near the top of my lists too but I'm starting to wonder why. Is he a top level coach? If you put Del Negro as coach of the Mavs I bet they go the same distance. Didn't he wear thin on the players near the end too. I don't know.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    People are fooling themselves if they think the fight is the reason Vinny's gone. He was gone by December, if not sooner.

  • In reply to muhammond:

    Agree. There were already rumors that the Bulls are looking at other people. I think management just let him stay for continuity and not to disrupt the season.

  • In reply to boogernights:

    Continuity, or the fact that the person they want is currently an assistant on another team???

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    I knew Vinnie was a lame duck coach when Jerry talked Doug Collins out of the job. The "I don't want to fire my friend" excuse was a hint of things to come. Jerry had no intention of spending money on players before 2010. He had no intention of keeping Ben Gordon. He knew a trainwreck was likely and he didn't want his friend to take the fall. If Doug Collins emerges as the coach, this entire scenario screams conspiracy in the Bulls front office.

  • In reply to kbar17:

    Maybe! Maybe!

  • In reply to kbar17:

    Heck ya they did....the Bulls were still paying Skiles at the time we hired Vinny. We werent going to just pay some coach a ton of money and also pay Skiles at the same time. Vinny was strictly for a couple years until we got to this point. NOW the Bulls can really hit it big and hire a big name coach and go after a MAX free agent. There will be a lot of talk about the Chicago Bulls this summer...just wait.

  • In reply to zachmanisback:

    please god no...

  • In reply to zachmanisback:

    1. Something about the Press Conference from Paxson. He was not wearing a tie on a buttoned-up Golf Shirt. Maybe he was scared that Vinnie might show up one last time before his id not working and yank his tie.
    2. What BS that Forman will make all the decisions? What does this mean? Does Paxson report to Forman? He is still Executive VP? Hey, I want to join the Bulls too:-) The Boss will report to me.
    3. I understand as a Bulls Fan that the incident was not a big deal. It was two guys getting a little confrontational. But that said, this is what happens when a former scrappy player suddenly becomes an executive like a John Paxson. I don't know about his executive capabilities but he sure looks like he would have been fired long back in a Fortune 500 company.
    4. Vinny was hired to be fired. It looks like Paxson/Reinsdorf thought if we strike gold with Vinny like a Phil Jackson, we can keep him. Plus,if I guess, Vinny for all his professionalism must have been arguing about the philosophy with GAR/Pax. After all, he was in the front office at Phoenix and why would he consider himself below (in terms of philosophy, knowledge) Gar/Pax.

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