The altercation occurred after a March 30 home loss to the Phoenix Suns. Paxson was allegedly upset that Del Negro ignored a medically imposed minutes limit on center Joakim Noah, who is suffering from plantar faciitis.
It was the second time Del Negro exceeded Noah’s playing time.
Paxson is said to have confronted Del Negro in the coach’s office about the lapse in judgment. At first Paxson began yelling at Del Negro until the coach rose from his chair and walked toward Paxson.
At that point Paxson allegedly grabbed Del Negro by the tie and shoved him backwards.
Sources told the Chicago Tribune that Del Negro has been collecting statements from organizational members, and chairman Jerry Reinsdorf confirmed that he has hired independent lawyers to investigate the incident.
Bulls General Manager Gar Forman released a statement late Wednesday that said the disagreement was the "result of each expressing their passion about the health and well being of their players and the desire to win basketball games."
He said it was "all based on the fine balance required to ensure both the immediate and long-term success of the team and the health of its players," and said that everyone "intends to keep focused on the remaining games."