According to sources to Yahoo! sports, after a loss to the Phoenix Suns on March 30th, Bulls vice president John Paxson entered coach Vinny Del Negro's office in an irate fashion regarding the playing time of Joakim Noah.
Sources say Paxson grabbed a hold of Del Negro's tie and gave him two jabs to the chest, even challenging him to a fight.
Coach Bernie Bickerstaff was said to have pulled Paxson away from Del Negro.
Sources stated Del Negro did not retaliate, for fear of the voiding of his contract leading to no pay and hurting the opportunity for future employment chances.
After a Feb. 26th game against Portland, Paxson and general manager Gar Forman also became angry when Noah's minutes exceeded the limit management that team doctors had specified.
Noah played 27 minutes in the 111-105 loss to the Suns on the March 30 game when the Paxson incident supposedly occurred.
Noah's minutes have been a topic of conversation since Del Negro elected to only play Noah for 12 seconds in the extra two frames of the double overtime loss to the New Jersey Nets, with the Bulls having a chance to take a one game lead on the Toronto Raptors for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Can you blame Del Negro at this point?
His job has been threatened more than enough times during the first two months of this season.
Why would he do anything to upset management this late in the season?
If management is literally going to fight Del Negro over playing Noah 27 minutes in a tight game against a good team like the Suns, why wouldn't they stab him over playing Noah more than 35 minutes and 51 seconds in a game against the Nets?
Perhaps Del Negro was sending a "see what happens" message to Paxson and the rest of management.
You can't have it both ways. You can't win and expect Del Negro to coach with Noah on a leash.
Del Negro may be an awful coach, but this is no way to treat any coach.
In other news, Noah played 46 minutes and 19 seconds against the Boston Celtics in a 101-93 win, putting the Bulls a win over the Bobcats or a Raptors loss against the New York Knicks Wednesday away from the final playoff spot in the East.
John, is it okay for Joakim to come out and play?
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