Why was Vinny Del Negro fired?

Vinny Del Negro has been fired as coach of the Chicago Bulls.

The decision to fire Del Negro came after organizational meetings last week and over the weekend. Del Negro met with Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf on Sunday and made a pitch to return for a third season, citing the accomplishments during his two seasons.

But, in the end, Reinsdorf took the recommendation of Forman and executive vice president John Paxson and decided to make a change.

But Del Negro did lead the Bulls to two playoff appearances. With the likely addition of a big-name free agent this summer, the franchise seems poised to become a serious contender in the East. Why exactly was he fired?

The major reason was the growing rift between him and management, which gained national attention when news broke of a postgame confrontation between Del Negro and Paxson in late March.

”That was a toxic situation,” TNT analyst Charles Barkley said Monday night. ”Vinny’s a good guy; Paxson’s a good guy. I said two weeks ago they had to fire him.”

Is Del Negro a good coach? It’s tough to say. He’s 82-82 in two seasons with two playoff appearances, but one could argue that the talent in Chicago is better than that. He was unable to develop Tyrus Thomas and John Salmons flourished in Milwaukee after he was moved at the trade deadline.

By removing Del Negro now, the franchise may be able to use the opening as a selling point to potential free agents. Would LeBron James or Dwyane Wade sign with the Bulls if Phil Jackson agreed to return to Chicago? How about Doug Collins or Avery Johnson?

Though the Bulls do expect to have the position filled by the start of free agency, I fully expect that they’d put feelers out to see how their top free agent targets feel about their top coaching targets. They’d be fools not to.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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