Chicago Bulls head coach Vinny Del Negro and VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson were ready to throw blows over an argument about playing time.
Bulls big man Joakim Noah has had some pain this season. With the Bulls fighting for the last playoff spot in the East, Noah has played despite an injured foot. He did miss a few weeks earlier in the season and when he came back, he was supposed to get limited minutes. But coach Vinny Del Negro decided he needed him on the floor and let him play.
That's where John Paxson comes in. The Bulls exec was apparently not happy about this and approached Del Negro after the game. According to Yahoo! Sports...
After a loss to the Phoenix Suns on March 30, an irate Paxson walked into the coach's office at the United Center and confronted Del Negro over a narrow breach of a management-imposed minutes limit on injured forward Joakim Noah. Sources said Paxson first grabbed a hold of Del Negro's tie and seemingly tried to provoke him with two successive jabs into his chest. Paxson was even heard to angrily challenge Del Negro to a fight.
According to another report from ESPN, Del Negro was the one who initiated the physical contact. So it's another issue of he said, she said. But does it really matter who you believe?
Two grown men with multi-million dollar salaries pushing and shoving each other over a guy's playing time? Grow up. The real issue is that the Bulls don't seem to like Vinny Del Negro. But why? Last season, as a first-year coach, the Bulls took the Boston Celtics to seven games. They lost Ben Gordon, and later John Salmons, yet still were able to get to .500 and make a playoff series. Seems that Del Negro has done a lot with a little. If Paxson really has a problem with him, throw them in the octagon.