It's poopsworld (though not the poopiest guy from that site who made up all the summer trade rumors), I know, but they talk about the Bulls locker room enough I'd think they at least have some sources.
Every once in a while you run across a story that makes your jaw drop. This is one of those.
There's a story in the Chicago media today about head coach Vinny Del Negro fining three players for eating in the locker room before a recent home game. HOOPSWORLD has learned that the number of players fined was actually five, but whether it was five or three, this story keeps getting wierder.
We're talking about a team that provides food (at least a fruit tray) to the visitor's locker room before each game and makes food available to their own players as well. It's also a team that has never had an issue with players eating before a game, even at their lockers. Ben Gordon has often taken ribbing for his habit of making - not just eating, but actually whipping out condiments, constructing, and eating - peanut butter sandwiches in his locker before games.
So all of a sudden Del Negro decides to not only go off on a group of players, but also fine them for eating in the locker room before a game. Fines were less than a thousand dollars each, but still it's a strange way to make a point.
It seems to be par for the course for Vinny Del Negro, however, who is going to great lengths to try and establish his authority in the locker room. Given that he's failed to do it in any traditional way, he beginning to do it in ways that make him seem small and petty.
In case you're wondering why it's a bad idea to hand an inexperienced coach the head chair for an NBA franchise, you're starting to see it in Chicago. Del Negro got the job despite his complete lack of experience coaching at any level, and the Bulls are now bearing the brunt of the consequences for that decision.
This is a team that fired Scott Skiles at about this time last season because his shrill, power-hungry ways were alienating players. Now it seems they replaced him with someone equally as shrill. It would be almost impossible for the Bulls to fire him this season without becoming even more of a laughing stock in NBA circles, but don't be surprised if he's one of the first ones picked off next season.
Things are going to get really ugly in Chicago, and that's not a good situation for a team with so many young players seeking identities and veterans who will be walking away as free agents this summer.