Fresh ink: January 23, 2009

fresh ink - Batman

KC Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: “The Bulls fined guard Ben Gordon for breaking an undisclosed team rule Thursday, and the typically stoic guard was seen at the Berto Center expressing his displeasure with the decision by using profanity during an animated conversation with coach Vinny Del Negro. The incident took place after Del Negro addressed reporters. Del Negro declined a request through a team spokesman to address the issue. Reached outside the Berto Center, Gordon said the incident was no longer an issue and he had no problems with the Bulls’ coach.” [One. Big. Happy. Family.]

Brian Hanley of the Chicago Sun Times: “Minutes after Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro told media members Thursday to ask his players if they respect him, some of the same media members witnessed guard Ben Gordon confronting Del Negro and using expletives in a Berto Center hallway. Gordon supposedly was upset at being fined for being late for a team flight. ‘I respect Vinny, everybody respects Vinny,’ Gordon said. ‘This is not a respect issue. It’s a non-issue.’” [Oh, sure. Because breaking team rules and cussing out your coach are two sure signs of a deep and abiding respect.]

More Brian Hanley from the Sun-Times: “Del Negro had fielded a number of questions after practice, including whether he believes his players respect him. A day earlier, general manager John Paxson had expressed disappointment with the play of the 18-25 team and declined to publicly evaluate the job Del Negro and his staff have done. ‘You can evaluate me every day if you want,’ Del Negro said. ‘I don’t even spend time on that. If you’re not willing to handle the fire, then you shouldn’t do this job. Not every day is going to be perfect. You’re going to have ups and downs. Guys are going to play well, and then you’re going to struggle. There’s scheduling and injuries and so much involved. It’s not that easy. I don’t have the time to waste on articles and radio and TV. I could care less. All I care about is this team getting better.’” [I wonder if Vinny's wife knows that making the Bulls better is all he cares about...?]

Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald: “A day after general manager John Paxson talked about something every Bulls fan already knew — the team hasn’t been playing very well — coach Vinny Del Negro had a chance to respond. Right off the bat, Del Negro said he didn’t read Paxson’s quotes and felt certain they covered topics that have already been discussed between the two of them. ‘My mindset is every day I come in and do my job and work hard and try to get this young team getting going in the right direction,’ Del Negro said following practice at the Berto Center. ‘There’s no easy answers to this stuff. Everybody thinks there is, but there’s not. You need a lot of talent and you need dedicated guys. And when you have young guys who have had as many injuries as we’ve had, there’s going to be inconsistencies. That’s just part of the business. It’s easy to play, it’s hard to win.’” [Is it just me, or did he suggest his players aren't all that talented or dedicated? I mean, he's right, but still.]

More Mike McGraw from the Daily Herald: “Bulls guard Derrick Rose confirmed that he’s been invited to participate in the NBA skills challenge during all-star weekend, but he hasn’t decided if he’ll participate. This contest generally features guards running through an obstacle course of sorts that includes passing accuracy and dribbling speed. Utah’s Deron Williams won the event last year, beating out New Orleans’ Chris Paul, Miami’s Dwyane Wade and Dallas’ Jason Kidd, who played for New Jersey at the time. ‘I’d like to play in it, but I don’t know yet,’ Rose said Thursday. ‘(It depends on) how busy I am and just the way I feel.’” [How busy he is and how he feels? Seriously?!]

Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times: “Paxson is straightforward, honest, conservative, intense, disciplined, self-effacing, without a show-off bone in his body. And that’s how he wants his players and coaches to be. Trouble is, that’s not the NBA. And wishing that the people you choose are going to have your qualities — plus great skill — is a recipe for meltdown in a league that’s infested with me-first-ism and huge guaranteed contracts. Not only will those players not be like you, but you already will have avoided, sometimes subconsciously, the egomaniacal superstars who make you nauseous but who might make your team transcendent. … When Ben Gordon angrily confronted the coach Thursday over a fine for being late for a team flight, swearing within earshot of the media, you know it’s a sign the inmates are starting to run the asylum.” [I'd feel better about Ben Gordon's me-first-ism if he was, like, six inches taller. Wouldn't you?]

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