How many decisions is Jerry Reinsdorf making?

He’s apparently deciding the status of Vinny Del Negro:

Del Negro met with Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf on Sunday, but the
embattled coach’s 11th-hour argument to keep his job won’t change what
the Tribune has reported since December 2009:

Del Negro is
expected to be dismissed with one year and roughly $2 million remaining
on his guaranteed three-year contract. Barring a snag, the Bulls will
make this news official Tuesday.

We’ve known for a long time that Reinsdorf has to approve financial decisions when it comes to major contracts for free agents.   He was also the primary force behind the Bulls picking Luol Deng over Ben Gordon since he took over those negotiations and handed out the contracts that made one guy stay and one guy leave.

Rumors persist that Reinsdorf was the key player in the Bulls deciding on Ben Wallace in part due to his close relationship with Wallace’s agent.

Looking back, it was Reinsdorf who scared off Mike D’Antoni and Doug
Collins last go around, so he obviously has a large role in the hiring
of coaches as well.  

That’s not to say the front office disagreed with all or any of these moves.  We really don’t know, but it looks like he’s also making the final coaching decision on Vinny Del Negro.

Is Reinsdorf pulling the strings on basically every major move leaving the GMs as glorified researchers or does he just get involved in negotiations due to his personal clout and do what management asks him to do?  

Could his involvement in this decision mean that Paxson/Forman are on the way out since he’s handling it personally?   Clearly, the interview was a last chance for VDN to save his job while Paxson/Forman want him out.

I certainly don’t recall stories of Reinsdorf interviewing Boylan, Skiles, Cartwright, or Floyd prior to deciding if they were going to be fired though I simply could be forgetting those stories.   

His action in this case could signify typical involvement with the team he owns [or of the board he chairs anyway] which he has every right to do.  People get amazingly upset in sports when the owner gets involved which might be the only business where this backwards thought is the case.   I don’t know if he’s the best basketball decision maker, but he has ever right to make whatever decisions he wants to make.

Unless a change has been planned for quite some time, which is certainly possible given Paxson’s thoughts on retiring last season, I don’t think there a management change is coming.

The process of hiring such an important position simply takes time.   In this critical summer, the Bulls need the front office clicking on all cylinders.  It’s going to be tough to make that happen when free agency is less than two months away, and the draft is even closer.

So it looks like everything will remain status quo, but it’s interesting to see where the decisions are filtering through and to find out if this is a pattern or a one time thing.   This could simply be a formality or it could signify the erosion of the Paxson/Forman powerbase.


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  • Whether we like Reinsdorf or not, it is important for him to be the front man for negotiations along with Gar Forman for free agency.
    There is no time to hire a new executive with a big name who can act decisively. If this Paxson/Vinny fight had happened last season, there was time for the drama to go away. Now it is too fresh in the minds of agents/players. So, if Reinsdorf is not going to fire Paxson, Reinsdorf should be the face of the franchise in negotiations.
    Hopefully, he takes Pax's advice because I guess Pax has worked hard on this free agency thing for years.

  • I think JR's increasing involvement is holding the team back. The guy made his money in RE not in running basketball teams. What is the point of hiring professionals if you are just going to have a baseball fan run the team. As fans, we have no accountability left, we don't know who did what like on a typical team where you can see the body of work a gm does. JR maybe a very good negotiator and business man but his negotiations have held this team back imo and will continue to do so.

  • I don't think it's a huge deal. It's the offseason, not an in-season hiring or firing, and having an "exit interview" with VDN could merely be the extension of an end of year meeting with the coach that JR does regardless. As an owner, I think you look to install people you trust and understand to run the day to day, but it's not an all or nothing proposition in my book. JR might have been gathering information, and not so much entertaining "one last sell" from VDN. I mean, once you fire the guy, it's not like you can ask his opnion on how the year went, and even if he's not your coach going forward, his perspective on the season is still information with some value.

  • Go get me Doc Rivers or Byron Scott....2 guys that MAX free agents probably would want to play for. Doc is from im sure he still has some ties around here. This could be a dream job for him.

  • Doug, you need to start writing about Bosh and why he should come to the Bulls and stop with this ineffectual minutia. Take a page out of the Houston beat writers who are all over him.

  • In reply to Scooter:

    I agree, Doug is a man with massive influence, and him cheerleading the team will make things better for everyone.

  • In reply to Scooter:

    The fact that Reinsdorf had to intercede during the Deng negotiations, the coaching hire after Scott Sklies was fired(telling D'Antoni, "If you expect to get something done this weekend you can forget it,") and now "deciding" Vinny's fate.

    If it's true that Paxson went into Del Negro's office, and then instigated a physical confrontation, then he should be gone(resign/fired whatever).

    That leaves you with Gar Forman, a guy who stated they were going to try and resign Ben Gordon(not arguing whether they should have) which they absolutely did not do. Reason for lying: not to piss off Bulls fan's fresh off the thrilling Boston series. Then when asked about trying to trade Hinrich/rid themselves of his contract Gar reiterated(after Rose had said this glue guy comment) that, "We like Kirk. Kirk's our glue guy." Another phony response being disengenuous with the public on numerous ocassions. Does that mean he can't pick talent/players? The Taj Gibson pick at No.26 was certainly a shrewd one. But James Johnson looks 50/50 to be a bust.

    Bottom line: For a franchise that operates/commnicates so much based on perception, I think Pax has to go. Gar Forman if he can deal successfully with other teams and pick talented/decent attitude players then he should stay, but get a backbone, and quit handing us these blatantly disingenuous "company" memos.

    As for retaining Vinny as I've said I do think you can tell something by watching a coach for two seasons, and Vinny's leadership/presence, player relationships, and general in game demeanor is far too often passive and sterile. I understand it's easy to tear a no-name down, and his record is pretty decent for a new coach with limited talent. But the fact remains everything I see evidences no leadership, stale relationships with players, and a general passive presence. There's no way in hell I'd want Vinny back as the Bulls coach.

    And I absolutely do think it makes the organization look bad to vascillate, and not announce a decision one way or the other very soon. Impending legal action/considerations is total B.S. If they want to fire Vinny. Fire him. If he's the type that would try to sue the Bulls over "shoving him and not being nice to him" then he never should have been here in the first place.

    Unless they make a decision/fire Vinny by tomorrow or the next day/Wednesday at the latest, it will leave another negative mark on this franchise no doubt. And Paxson's firing/resignation would be an afterthought if they were smart enough to do it immediately following this Vinny thing. Really all of this should have been done with a couple of days ago.

    And by the way this sentiment that Reisndorf can do whatever he wants as it's his team?? Nobody can do whatever they want. If letting a coaching firing linger for weeks when the normal protocol is an immediate firing at season's end then that makes us look unprofessional and vascillating. Period. And it does matter. Fire the guy already, and let's move on.

    The sooner they hire a name guy, Byron Scott or Jeff Van Gundy if he's available, the better the chances of acquiring a Max free agent(LeBron, Wade, Dirk, Amare, or Bosh) and preferably through a sign and trade and the vastly improved situation making them request their current team to make something happen with Chicago.

  • In reply to Scooter:

    Whatever they're going to do, they need to get it done as soon as possible. if Reinsdorf does decide to fire VDN he should be looking to bring in either Byron Scott or Doc Rivers and that is it. No more coaches with no experience. Or keep VDN, give him a better talent of players to work with, and let him finish out his contract. Yes he made some bad decisions as a new coach but the players never quit on him and they made a good run to make it to the playoffs with what they had so people have to give VDN a lot of credit. Reinsdorf needs to be involved in the free agent recruiting and get this team back to where it belongs and that's back to the top of the eastern conference and the NBA period.

  • In reply to Scooter:

    Regardless of who is calling the shots, they need to end the SOAP OPERA and get down to business. This summer is too important to be dealing with MAINTAINENCE issues, instead of working on the GOAL of winning a championship.

  • In reply to Scooter:

    Well, as long as Reinsdorf decides to sign Lebron James then nothing else really matters.

  • I think Reinsdorf's involvement is a nod to how important the offseason is to his franchise. He wants to make sure everything goes smoothly and that all the factors are in place to lure the best free agents. So he will make sure the coach is right, make sure the organization appears to be more stable than others, etc. If I was the owner I would do the same thing.

    I don't recall Reinsdorf being this involved unless it's a major decision for the franchise. He dealt with Jordan personally on his last two one-year contracts for the Bulls, I believe he did the same for Phil Jackson and remember when it briefly looked like Skiles would not sign an extension after his contract ran out? Reinsdorf swooped in at that point and got it done. So he has a history of taking things into his own hands when it's a major decision.

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