Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Vinny Del Negro officially fired, UK coach John Calipari possibly interested.

By Sean Mackey

Vinny Del Negro's 2 year tenure as head coach of the Chicago Bulls ended Tuesday when the Bulls announced that Del Negro was relieved of coaching duties during an hour long press conference. Bulls general manager Gar Foreman was the first person to speak. Gar acknowledged that Vinny did a good job with the development of players and remaining professional but in order to improve, a coaching change needed to be made.

Foreman tiptoed around a lot of questions and assured the media that he was in charge (until John Paxson said the same thing later on) and he was the one who initially decided to fire Del Negro. He claimed that the incident on March 30th with John Paxson had no effect on his decision. Gar mentioned that money was not going to be a factor in finding a new coach.

Vice president of basketball operations, John Paxson was the 2nd person to speak and finally apologized to Vinny, the organization and the fans regarding his behavior on March 30th. Pax went on to say that Vinny was a great guy, a hard worker and he wishes him luck. He also went on to say that Vinny didn't fail and helped the organization.

Vinny Del Negro also surprisingly made an appearance but didn't take any questions from the media. He thanked Jerry Reinsdorf and the Bulls organization for the opportunity they gave him and said he was proud of his accomplishments with the team and his players.

VDN is a classy guy and I liked him a lot. It's a shame the Bulls aren't retaining him for his final year but he's getting paid $2 million to sit at home so I don't feel that sorry for him. He put up with an organization who never stood behind him and the media while Pax laid low after the March 30th incident. He'll get another job and he'll do well. Pax did a good job of clearing the air saying that Vinny and him were competitive individuals and just got caught up in the heat of the moment. It happens.

According to a report that broke Tuesday evening by Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports, University of Kentucky coach John Calipari would be interested in the Bulls head coaching job. Calipari coached Derrick Rose 3 years ago when he was still at Memphis. Calipari is also said to have close ties to LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Although these reports have yet to be debunked, Calipari insured fans on his Facebook that he was happy at UK. Reports have also broke this morning saying that UK is scrambling to revise Calipari's contract to make it more appealing for him to stay. A report from the Daily Herald claimed that the Bulls have a short list of candidates for the head coaching job including former player/coach of the Philidephia 76ers, Mo Cheeks, former Boston Celtic and Timberwolves general manger/coach Kevin McHale and former NBA coach and current broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy.

Kevin McHale was a guy that I mentioned earlier this season as a decent replacement for VDN when talks of him being fired back in December surfaced. While McHale's coaching track record isn't that great, he's the best post player in the history of the NBA. His knowledge would especially help Joakim and Taj . He's also a dirty player of the game and the Bulls need a guy who can fight since it seems every other team plays that way. Mo Cheeks was a terrible coach for the 76ers and Jeff Van Gundy has zero interest so I'd have to think McHale is the top option if this short list is accurate.

I'll be posting tidbits on the Chicago Bulls KY twitter feed ( regarding rumors and news for next few months regarding the search for a new coach, draft and free agency probably more than the actual blog. Sign up and follow us by phone for quick Bulls news updates! The draft lottery is 13 days away and is something that will definitely shape free agency. If the Cavs lose (which I hope they do) and the New Jersey Nets get the number 1 pick, I have feeling LeBron may actually consider leaving. With Brook Lopez, John Wall and Devon Harris as trade bait along with the move to Brooklyn, the Nets may look like an attractive stop for a free agent such as LeBron. I'm still sticking with my prediction that the Magic will win the title this year. Go Magic!