The writing has been on the wall regarding the future of Vinny Del Negro for months now.
Monday, the Chicago Bulls put the embattled coach out of his misery, making it official that Del Negro will not return next season despite having a year remaining on his contract.
Del Negro compiled a 82-82 record during his two seasons on the Bulls’ bench, directing the club two playoff appearances in each season.
The former NBA guard needed much more than mediocrity under his reign to retain his job. The third choice after Mike D’Antoni and Doug Collins declined offers to coach the Bulls, Del Negro was a fall-back option with no prior coaching experience on any level.
It was clear from the start he would have to do great things to stick around long.
It was also clear he wasn’t going to get much help from the Bulls’ front office.
The Bulls’ brass has spent the last two seasons doing everything to gear up for the Free Agent frenzy that will take place this summer. Even the additions of Brad Miller and John Salmons, players who clearly helped the Bulls’ during last year’s late-season surge, were made primarily to get rid of Andres Nocioni’s absurd contract.
The Bulls crumbled this season after Salmons was dealt, leaving the team extremely short-handed.
Then of course there was the Joakim Noah fiasco, which sparked the well-publicized dust up with Bulls’ vice president of basketball operations/former GM John Paxson.
Only a handful of NBA coaches really make a difference, in a good way or in a bad way. Although Derrick Rose and Noah improved under Del Negro, it wasn’t because of anything he did. It’s safe to say that their progression as players would have occurred regardless of who was on the bench.
Ultimately, Del Negro didn’t help or hinder the Bulls.
The next few months will go a long way in determining the future of the Bulls organization. Step one: Hire a proven, capable NBA coach–a coach who makes a difference.