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.
The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?
Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:
If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.
The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.
It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.
Remember when Aaron Gordon was a promising fun player?
The Magic sidetracked him by playing him at small forward most of last season. But back at power forward, Gordon showed how he could push the pace as a four in Orlando’s season-opening win over the Heat.
There’s obviously flair in passing to yourself off the backboard, but it’s a sound way to improve position. Gordon did that to fantastic effect.
Gordon Hayward is going to have surgery on his ankle and leg, which should not be a surprise to anyone who saw the gruesome injury to his leg just 5:15 into his Celtics career. There is no timetable for his return yet, maybe he makes it back for the playoffs, but the Celtics are not going to rush him and he may well miss the entire season.
What next for Boston?
In this PBT Extra I cover the three things to watch for from Boston, which in the short term could mean the Kyrie Irving show. Longer term, not much changes.
Gordon Hayward broke his leg early in his Celtics debut – a devastating injury. He’s preparing for surgery tonight, per Jeff Goodman of ESPN:
First – after a perfect introduction from Marcus Smart – Hayward addressed the Boston crowd from his hospital bed before tonight’s game against the Bucks.
What’s up everybody? Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has sent me your thoughts and prayers. I’m going to be alright. It’s hurting me that I can’t be there for the home opener. I want nothing more just to be with my teammates and walk out onto that floor tonight. But I’ll be supporting you guys from here and wishing you the best of luck. Kill it tonight. Thanks, guys.
At least this nice moment (and an outpouring of support) came out of such a gruesome injury.
And if Smart keeps setting up his teammates so well, maybe the Celtics’ offense will keep humming.