There's always been a lot of mystery around John Paxson's assault (poking his chest? choking him by the tie?) on Vinny Del Negro in 2010.
Del Negro pulled back the curtain a bit in his podcast interview with Adrian Wojnarowski (who by the way was really slamming the Bulls' front office).
Here's the transcript of Del Negro discussing the Paxson incident:
"There was communication before the game with the team doctor [about Noah's minutes]."
"Well, John's a former player, very emotional, and we had various conversations prior to that. And, you know, I think I played Joakim a couple minutes more because I think the game went into overtime.
And, uh, knowing Joakim was going to be out for an extended period of time with his injury, the front office, staff, and the doctor were all on board.
But John just felt like I played him too much and at that time, it wasn't our first conversation. It became heated. And it was just an unfortunate thing. Something I'm not proud of, I'm sure John isn't as well. He's apologized, and, those things, he's the boss.
You can't have a precedent like that, you can't handle the things the way they were handled and it's unfortunate. And a lot of things haven't been said about it, nor should they. It's between John and all of those things are behind us. To me, it's about the players, about the Chicago Bulls and the fans and the great city there."
"It happened so fast. I mean, you know, it was really kind of funny to me to be honest with you. Disturbing but funny. But it didn't surprise me. You're in a position where you really can't do anything but you want to but you can't. At the end of the day, I'm actually proud of the way I handled it. Could have handled it much different but didn't see the point and there was a lot of other circumstances in that moment that I think had built up to that."
Del Negro is surprisingly very well-spoken and makes good points about his tenure in Chicago. He took the high road on a lot of questions where Woj gave him setups to say something inflammatory about the Bulls.
[yfbb: I'll throw in a bonus link, here's a column today on RealGM on how the Bulls have compliance at the expense of order with the team. The money-quote:
The reason a couple replacement-level executives were allowed to push out one of the league's best coaches is that the Chicago Bulls are owned by Jerry Reinsdorf, who willfully confuses having had the privilege of employing Michael Jordan with being a brilliant manager and businessman. Reinsdorf is a caricature of a thin-skinned rich guy, and he doesn't take guff from subordinates. If you look at his hires over the years, both with the Bulls and the White Sox (which he also owns), he values loyalty above competence.