Vinny Del Negro has not done a bad job this season.
The city of Chicago just rolled their eyes, but he hasn’t. The Bulls sacrificed this season on the alter of 2010 free agency. They brought in no new talent. Then as injuries ravaged the team they traded John Salmons away, so he could spark a revival in Milwaukee. They traded away Tyrus Thomas. It was all about next year.
Yet the Bull are in the playoffs — and competing hard in them. They are standing up to the Cavaliers, and they won one game. You can question some of Del Negro’s late game decisions, he has not been perfect, but he is not the problem in Chicago. He did an admirable job in tough circumstances.
And he’s going to be fired. Chris Broussard explains at ESPN:
The most persistent rumor in the NBA is that Vinny Del Negro is a goner. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone around the league — agent, executive or scout — who thinks Del Negro will return next season as coach of the Chicago Bulls.
The fact that Bulls management has not shot down such speculation or offered Del Negro even a whiff of public support has only strengthened that sentiment.
“He’s a dead man walking,” one Eastern Conference executive said. “He won’t be back.”
Del Negro and Bulls Vice President John Paxson are oil and water. They clash a lot, and recently it has turned physical.
Del Negro runs simple offensive sets, this is far from the sophistication of the triangle that won put the six banners in the rafters of the United Center. He makes bad decisions. But his team plays good defense and works hard for him.
But what is happening on the court is not what is getting him fired. His relationship with management is.
What will be interesting is to see how Del Negro does in his second head-coaching job. Because he will get one. And that team will play hard, too.