Give full credit to Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who only allowed just-terminated head coach Vinny Del Negro to twist in the wind for a season and a half a few days. Though Del Negro’s oft-discussed shoving match with GM John Paxson dominated headlines earlier this year, Tremendous Upside Potential’s Ricky O’Donnell advances the argument the neophyte head coach caught a raw deal.
Did Vinny decide to let Ben Gordon walk? No – though we can’t be certain who actually is calling the shots for the team right now. But put yourself in Vinny’s shoes. The organization voluntarily lets go of your second best player to a division rival for zero compensation. This is done so, hopefully, a free agent star can take over the town and will Chicago into the league’s elite after the team treads water for a season. Now the tread water part is over. The only problem is that Vinny never got to see the other side.
You could absolutely make the argument that the Bulls owed Vinny another season because of this.
Even the simple stuff is hard to turn against Del Negro: he leaves town with an 82-82 career record and a pair of playoff series under his belt that range from classic to respectable. Not bad given the roster he had to work with, literally zero prior coaching experience and limited organizational backing.
But, in the end, the reason the Bulls give for firing Vinny really doesn’t matter. Del Negro’s gone because he challenged Reinsdorf/Foreman/Paxson on some stuff and refused to be the puppet they expected him to be when he was hired. That’s pretty much it.