Well if Reinsdorf holds a grudge against Jeff for what his brother says, then you can cross one name off the Bulls head coaching list.
"I was shocked by the coaching change," Van Gundy told ESPNChicago.com
after the Magic's shootaround on Monday morning. "I thought Vinny did a
great, great job developing the young guys, and I think it will be very
hard for anyone to come in and do a better job than he did."
"From midseason on, I don't think Vinny got much support from their
organization," Stan said. "I didn't understand -- you never know the
inner-workings, and so maybe there was some stuff behind the scenes --
but from a coaching perspective, Vinny did a very, very good job with
"They gave up their two best wing scorers in [Ben]
Gordon and [John] Salmons, and they were a great defensive team that
struggled to score. I don't think that's shocking when you give up two
guys like that. The front office makes the decision to make those
trades [Gordon left via free agency], and then Vinny's the scapegoat
for it. [It's a] hard thing to understand."
"I thought Vinny had great success with him," he said. "I thought he
developed great and Vinny had great success with him, so if you want a
guy who's had success with point guards I would think Vinny would be at
the top of your list."
Is there a particular coaching candidate who Van Gundy thinks would be a better fit for the Bulls right now?
"Yeah," he said. "Vinny Del Negro."
Stan goes on to say that he doesn't think Jeff would even grant the Bulls an interview for the head coaching position. It's certainly possible that Jeff told him this, and he's speaking with fairly direct knowledge, but it contradicts what we've seen in JVG's actions by interviewing with Chicago media all over the place immediately after the VDN firing.
Moving on past that point, I find the following things interesting about this article:
"He's shocked" --- Really? I'd say he doesn't pay attention to the news, but apparently he paid attention enough to notice the Bulls almost fired him mid-season and instead kept him on for the remainder of the season. There's absolutely nothing shocking about VDN's firing, in fact, every media member in Chicago has predicted that it would happen. Keeping him would have been shocking.
Next, I tend to agree with Stan that Del Negro did do a good job developing talent. I've pointed that out time and again, however, that doesn't mean he's the right coach going forward. He didn't have a particularly good offensive scheme, he didn't manage games well, and the Bulls were atrocious out of timeouts which is usually the worst time possible to be atrocious since it typically means a key situation.
It's easy to dismiss this a coach sticking up for a peer, but I missed the rant Van Gundy had about the Eddie Jordan firing, so I don't think it's that simple. I do think there is a vibe among some that the Bulls really weren't fair to Vinny, and it's quite possible that they weren't fair.
How much of the aftermath is FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt), and how much is fact? Well, we know he significantly overplayed Joakim Noah in the game against Portland against management's wishes. While that earned a victory, it also reinjured Noah causing him to miss the next 10 games which were all losses.
Is it Vinny's fault that Noah re-injured the foot? Who knows, maybe it would have happened regardless of whether he stuck to the minute guideline, but it's not hard to see why management would be awfully upset when a coach obeys direct orders from the medical team, and the actions cause them to lose their second best player for 10 games which are all losses.
On route to the firing stories have leaked about Vinny not getting along with management or players at varying points. Noah and Rose publicly backed Vinny (at least somewhat) prior to his firing, but I'm not sure how much you can take from that given he was still the head coach at the time.
I know several of our key veterans actively disliked VDN, one of which went so far to quietly request a trade because he was sick of the situation here. So no, I don't think Bulls management was crazy in letting Vinny Del Negro go.
I don't think Stan was wrong, but he's not right either. The Bulls hired Del Negro to do the following things:
1) Not get paid much
2) Develop talent
3) Be a place holder until we find a real coach for 2010
He fulfilled those three requirements admirably, and they're not moving on. Vinny should also come away quite pleased by this situation, especially the way the story is playing out in the press. He should easily find another coaching gig over the next couple years, and he'll probably get a nice raise on top of what the Bulls paid him.
He's come off looking like a sympathetic figure throughout all this.
This is one of those situations where it simply is what it is. The Bulls were right to move on from Vinny now and probably intended to move on from him this year from the beginning unless he absolutely blew them away. Vinny proved he has head coaching chops and should get another opportunity.
Despite all the acrimony, this is a win-win for both sides. The Bulls got what they needed out of Vinny, and if it weren't for the Bulls, VDN may not have had a shot at all.