As the Chicago Bulls fight for a playoff spot, reports surfaced Tuesday of a physical altercation between their coach and VP. John Paxson, the team’s executive vice president, shoved coach Vinny Del Negro following a game last month, according to several reports. The issue apparently was playing time for Joakim Noah, who was coming back from a left foot injury.
Del Negro simply said "no comment on that" after the Bulls’ victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday.
Paxson did not return a call from The AP seeking comment.
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"This is an organizational issue, which we will handle internally," Bulls spokesman Tim Hallam said.
Management imposed limits on Noah’s minutes but Del Negro exceeded them in a March 30 loss to the Phoenix Suns, Yahoo! Sports first reported and other reports confirmed.
After the game, an angry Paxson confronted Del Negro in the coach’s office at United Center and reportedly jabbed him twice in the chest while challenging him to a fight. Del Negro did not retaliate before assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff pulled Paxson away.
The Bulls have hired lawyers to talk to witnesses about the incident.