[Update by your friendly BullsBlogger, 04/10/10 4:26 PM: KC Johnson has an update from Bulls practice on Saturday:
"I felt we could stretch him out a little just because of the importance of the game. So I had (player development coach) Lindsey (Hunter) go talk to Gar about it to make sure it was OK. I wanted to put him in if there was 10 seconds to go or the 3.6 seconds (for the Nets' final possession of regulation) but I hadn't got the authority yet to do that. When I got the OK to put him back in, I put him back in during that first overtime to try to get that stop. So there was some miscommunication."
Asked what impression he was under after receiving clearance from management through Hunter, Del Negro said: "Play him 35 minutes. And then when he went a little over, play him in last-possession situations. I didn't get that answer until the overtime. Once I got it, we're into the overtime. My interpretation of that was not to play him to 40-45 minutes. But if we needed a stop, put him back in. That was the understanding. And there was probably some miscommunication."...
For what it's worth, Del Negro said Noah won't be under any restrictions for Sunday's game.
"I don't know about 45 (minutes)," Del Negro said. "But I don't think there will be a mandate on him."
A bit of controversy (beyond the referees) came out of last night's debacle in New Jersey.
Joakim Noah did not play in either overtime period, and after the game VDN cited a minutes cap (as Sham pointed out, not sure how putting him in on that final possession in regulation would've made his foot explode) from the Org.. A stance that makes some sense given Noah's injury issues and him playing 33 minutes the night prior.
But then again, there was a game to win. And VDN's bosses apparently were cool with Noah playing, reports John Jackson:
general manager Gar Forman said that Del Negro could have played Noah more.
According to Forman, who was at the game, player development assistant Lindsey Hunter, who sits behind the bench, approached him after regulation and asked if Noah could play additional minutes.
Forman said he called executive vice president John Paxson (who was home) and was given clearance for Noah to exceed the limit. Forman also said that message was relayed to Del Negro on the bench.
Del Negro made his postgame comments before Forman talked and he was unavailable for follow-up comments.
(ht: Bulls Confidential)
Amazing that there could be a miscommunication when the Bulls have such a defined and organized power structure.
Though for all we know, Vinny was just looking for an excuse as to why he didn't play Noah, as he actually thought it was his best chance to win. It's possible, he's not a good coach.
And he won't be back next season regardless of the team's finish, if Gar Forman's umpteenth chance to distance himself from the guy is any indication. But maybe the most interesting part of this story is that Gar himself still has to call Pax before making those types of 'General Manager' decisions.