Things are not peachy in Bulls land

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ESPN Chicago is reporting that there was some miscommunication between Bulls front office and Vinny Del Negro in the Bulls loss to the Nets on Friday. Essentially, there had been a decision to not play Joakim Noah more than 35 minutes. Noah hit that limit, and so Vinny Del Negro pulled him. Then apparently player development assistant Lindsey Hunter asked acting General Manager Gar Forman if they could go over, Forman checked with VP John Paxson, who gave the okay.

But by that point they were in overtime. And VDN didn’t think the approval meant he could push Noah for the entire period. Noah played just 12 seconds in overtime.

Okay. Couple things here.

One, Gar Forman notifying the press that Lindsey Hunter had asked and they’d approved? That’s some Grade A buck-passing and bus throwing. There’s no reason to inform the press that. Just say that it was VDN’s decision and direct all questions to the coaching staff. They don’t need to know that they need your approval to play a player more minutes. And wait, the assistant coach has to go ask the general manager, who then has to go ask the former GM and VP? How does that work, exactly? For a decision that needs to be made in about thirty seconds?

So the coach doesn’t have power to make final call on minutes. The GM doesn’t have the power to authorize the coach on that call. And an assistant is going to the GM to ask.

Weird. Just weird.

There’s rampant speculation that VDN is going to be gone after this season, despite leading the Bulls to back to back playoff appearances with a shell of a roster, rampant injuries, and this silliness in the front office. VDN’s not a great coach. He may not even be a good coach. But he’s improved, and he’s gotten results. It’s a shame that he was set up to fail so incredibly by the team.

PBT Extra: Who do you want to see most in first All-Star Game?

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Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.

This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.

The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.

Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.

Russell Westbrook: ‘Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—’ (video)

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Did Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant talk during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night? Westbrook said no, though video and first-hand accounts indicate otherwise.

Even more clearly: Westbrook – who walked near teammates Enes Kanter, Anthony Morrow and Jerami Grant – didn’t want someone talking to someone as they left the floor after the game. ESPN caught Westbrook saying, “Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—.”

You will never convince anyone Westbrook is referring to anyone but Durant.

Russell Westbrook commits epic travel (video)

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Between getting laid out by Zaza Pachulia and apparently talking with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook committed a travel for the ages.

The Thunder guard took an inbound pass against the Warriors and just started walking up court without dribbling. The violation was so blatant, NBA officials even called the travel.

And it’s not as if they’re inclined to blow a whistle in that situation. Before Westbrook, Kemba Walker set a high bar last season, but he got away with this walk:

Are Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant on speaking terms after apparent conversation? Westbrook: ‘Nah’ (video)

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Russell Westbrook deleted Kevin Durant‘s goodbye text and, months later, told the whole world they still hadn’t talked.

That apparently changed during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder yesterday – though not if you ask Westbrook.

Westbrook dunked in the third quarter, and according to ESPN commentator Mark Jackson, Westbrook told Durant, “Don’t jump.” Anthony Slater of The Mercury News also wrote of the same quote.

ESPN’s telecast caught Durant clearly speaking to Westbrook shortly after. It appears Westbrook is talking back, but his back is to the camera.

After the game, Westbrook denied the exchange:

 

  • Reporter: “Are you and KD on speaking terms?”
  • Westbrook: “Nah.”
  • Reporter: “You guys had a little exchange in the third quarter.”
  • Westbrook: “What exchange?”
  • Reporter: “You and KD said something to each other.”
  • Westbrook: “Oh. You gotta maybe sit closer to the game. You maybe didn’t see clearly.”

This is so Westbrook – stubborn to the point of denying reality.

That approach worked for him when everyone rightly told him he was a significantly lesser player than Durant. Westbrook ignored that fact until it became false.

I suspect he wants to forget this exchange so he can maintain a cold animosity toward someone he prefers to resent.