Yesterday morning, we wrote about John Paxson's hilarious comments -- hilarious only because we must laugh to keep from crying -- on rookie coach Vinny Del Negro's late-game rotations. Specifically, Paxson revealed to the media that he has urged Del Negro to keep Derrick Rose in the game in crunch time situations.
Seriously. This a conversation they had. Not like, advanced basketball strategy, or why Vinny should look to run high option picks for Rose, or something like that. The message: Play your best player more. Mind-blowing, we know.
It's not hard to imagine that Del Negro would take a little umbrage at Paxson's revelation. Not because it makes Vinny look stupid -- he does well enough on his own -- but because it makes fans think Paxson believes Del Negro is stupid. That's the rub. So Vinny fired back last night before the Bulls' game against the Charlotte Bobcats. Fun!
"We talk almost every day, but I don't like to get into what me and John talk about," Del Negro said. "That's between us. I make decisions on the team in what I see fit for players, when they should play and when they don't. I know my players better than anybody."
Uhoh. Vinny's not happy.
How do we know? Because for all his inexperience in the profession, Vinny's quote is pitch-perfect coach speak. Not overtly angry, but the messages are all there. To wit:
"I don't get into what we talk about," equals: "I can't believe Paxson told you guys that. I thought we were buddies. We even pinkie-sweared it!"
"I make decisions on the team," equals: "I thought I was the coach and he was the GM. What nerve on this guy."
And "I know my players better than anybody," pretty obviously means: "I'm going to keep coaching how I want, regardless of what Paxson thinks. I'm not going out like a punk here. Believe that."
The problem is that Vinny doesn't know his players that well, and so his tough talk is just that: talk. If we were him, and thank goodness we're not, we would listen to our GM when he told us to do something. He's the one with the power to make sure we got through our first season coaching. Usually, making that guy angry is counterproductive.
Eamonn Brennan is a writer, editor and blogger hunkered down in Lincoln Park. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, FanHouse, MOUTHPIECE Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com.