Wednesday , Dec , 30 , 2009 Oly Sandor

Not Yet: Why Chicago hasn’t fired Vinny Del Negro

For weeks, Chicago Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro has been on borrowed time, waiting for management to put him out of his misery and fire him. The players – with their inconsistent effort and poor discipline – have tuned out Del Negro and are waiting for the new sideline boss to arrive, while fans and media are gossiping like Harv Levin and his TMZ posse on possible replacements …

Not Yet: Why Chicago hasn't fired Vinny Del Negro

The inevitable hasn’t happened. Yet.

For weeks, Chicago Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro has been on borrowed time, waiting for management to put him out of his misery and fire him. The players – with their inconsistent effort and poor discipline – have tuned out Del Negro and are waiting for the new sideline boss to arrive, while fans and media are gossiping like Harv Levin and his TMZ posse on possible replacements.

Why hasn’t a change occurred? Why is Del Negro still gainfully employed and telling reporters he’s frustrated by the speculation surrounding his shaky job status?

For starters, he’s convenient. Right now, the spotlight is firmly on Del Negro instead of the team’s underachieving record or talent. And the on-going media circus provides the suits upstairs – for instance, like executive John Paxson – with cover.

Currently, reporters want reaction quotes from Del Negro, which means management has a temporary pass on why they have not acquired a much-needed inside scorer or why Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich are receiving star salaries.

Of course, the media won’t stay distracted forever, which is a problem for Paxson, especially when considering he has little or no plan for the future.

So Paxson needs time to determine his next move. He must decide who to hire when, not if, he fires Del Negro. Paxson also needs time to make a couple of personnel moves, so his new coach has a better chance at winning then Del Negro. This, in turn, will help management justify letting go of Del Negro.       

The new coach must be superstar compatible, starting with point guard Derrick Rose. Del Negro’s replacement must get more out of the 2009 Rookie of the Year, who has not progressed in his second NBA season.

Then there’s Tyrus Thomas. The new bench boss must be able to assess young, developing players and help Paxson determine if Thomas is worth a long-term extension or should be dealt at the trade deadline. 

Most importantly, he needs approval from elite players like Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade because Chicago has the financial flexibility and market appeal to factor into ’The Great Free Agent Chase of 2010’.    

Del Negro hasn’t been fired yet because his presence is still useful for management. And Paxson, for several reasons, knows he can’t hire the wrong person to succeed Del Negro.

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