Bulls GM lukewarm on Del Negro

Updated: December 30, 2009, 4:53 PM ET
By Nick Friedell | ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls general manager Gar Forman met with the media on Tuesday in the wake of an ESPN.com report that the organization has decided to fire coach Vinny Del Negro but is waiting to find his replacement before making a switch.

Forman was asked if the organization is behind its head coach.

"Our organization's behind what we're doing," Forman said. "And we're still optimistic of where we're going. I don't think anybody's happy where we're at today. And our goal is to get better each and every day."

Forman was quoted in a Chicago Sun-Times report Tuesday stating a decision to fire Del Negro has not been made.

"Up to this point in our season, we've had a number of injuries to some key guys," Forman said. "We've played a very, very difficult schedule up to this point in the season. There's been some things that have gone against us. But to me, those are all excuses. And there's an old saying, I'm sure most of you have heard it: 'You are what your record is.' And at this point in the season, we're 11-17.

"With that said, at 11-17 nobody in this organization's happy with where we're at. I know the players are disappointed that we're 11-17, the coaches are disappointed that we're 11-17 and I know the management is disappointed. But most importantly I know the fans are disappointed at where we're at right now."

The Bulls hosted the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night, and although the Pacers entered the game with a 9-20 record, Indiana president Larry Bird issued a loud and clear message of support for coach Jim O'Brien on Monday.

Del Negro appears to be frustrated when questions surrounding his job security arise. Just moments before Forman spoke, the embattled head coach was asked if it bothered him that neither Forman nor Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson had given him a public vote of confidence.

"It gets to the point where it's ridiculous to keep talking about this stuff," Del Negro said. "It's a waste of time, really. I talk to Gar and Pax every day. When they want to come out with something they will.

"If they don't, I'm just going to keep working and doing my job and helping this team get better. That's my approach. I'm the leader of the team, and we have a young team, and setting a good example for guys and how to handle things I think is important. And that's the approach I take. Be professional and do your job. And that's the approach I'm going with and I feel strongly that way."

Instead of a public vote of confidence, Forman said he spoke to the players and emphasized the organization wants to improve.

"Vinny is our coach," he said. "Our goal is to get better each and every day. As a management team, we're exploring all options in order to get better.

"We expect our coaches each and every day to get this team better. And I met with the team [Monday] for a while, and we expect them to work each and every day to get better. And that's where we're at at this point."

Nick Friedell covers the Chicago Bulls for ESPNChicago.com.

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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