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News » Worry about future? Not Bulls' Del Negro

Worry about future? Not Bulls' Del Negro

Worry about future? Not Bulls' Del NegroWith each loss, the Bulls' slide becomes more pronounced and the speculation about the job security of coach Vinny Del Negro intensifies.

So it should come as no surprise that Del Negro's session with the media after practice Thursday at the Berto Center was dominated by talk of his future and how much blame for the team's recent play should land on his shoulders.

Specifically, the second-year coach was asked if he believed he had the support of management.

''You guys worry about that stuff; I don't,'' he said in an energetic tone. ''I talk to Gar [Forman, the Bulls' general manager] every day. They understand how hard the staff's working and what we're trying to do.

''That's all you can do. You have to keep on moving along. As bad as it is, it's still pro Basketball and there's a lot of positives. There's no question there's a challenge, but that's what makes it interesting and worthwhile.''

The Bulls (7-13) have dropped nine of 10 after a 6-4 start, but it's been the last three losses -- blowout losses to Toronto and Atlanta sandwiched around a home loss to New Jersey -- that have sparked calls for Del Negro's head.

During that stretch, the Bulls have played well only in spurts, and there are periods where it appears the players are giving less than 100 percent. Of course, it's difficult to look like a lively, hustling bunch when things aren't going well.

''I think our effort's been there,'' Del Negro said. ''We haven't been consistent at times, no question. We've been back on our heels a little lately, so hopefully we can get some aggressiveness in our game and be more effective.''

At least on the outside, Del Negro has projected the image of someone focused on the task ahead. But the players have heard all the speculation, and it's difficult for them not to be affected.

''I've been through it before,'' forward Luol Deng said. ''When you're winning, there's no problems. You could be talented enough to where you're winning and there is a problem, but you never show it because winning heals everything.

''[With] the way we've been playing, there's got to be a reason for it. We just want to come out and play harder. Everything else that's going on, we have to try to block that out.''

When asked if he believed the Bulls had to play better to save Del Negro's job, Deng said, ''Yeah. I mean, I think for all of us -- we could be traded. When things aren't going well, change is gonna happen somehow. That's just the way it is.''

During his Alfred E. Neuman routine -- What, me worry? -- Del Negro morphed into another infamous 1970s character -- former vice president Spiro Agnew -- when he said the media folks calling for his head don't understand what his job entails.

''It's easy to sit back on the sidelines and everyone has these great ideas and people think they know what they're talking about,'' Del Negro said. ''But until you live it and do it, no one has an idea.

''All you guys have to write and do your jobs and come up with stories and things, and that's all great and you have to do that. But you guys really don't know what it's like -- you know what I mean? -- because you've never done it.''

He also didn't hesitate to respond when asked if he's received unfair criticism.

''Oh yeah, absolutely,'' he said. ''But that's part of the deal. You can't take a position like this and not think you're gonna get criticized. That's part of the deal. If you can't live with the criticism and the heat, then you shouldn't take the job. You shouldn't be in pro sports.

"I get frustrated, too, when we're not playing well and you're trying to find things that work. But you just have to keep on pounding the pavement and go to work.''



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- NBA standings: 57

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Added: December 12, 2009


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