- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy does not believe the recently fired Del Negro was given the proper backing from the Bulls front office, and Stan doesn't think Jeff will return to the coaching ranks next season for the Bulls or any other team.
"I was shocked by the coaching change," Van Gundy told ESPNChicago.com after the Magic's shootaround on Monday morning. "I thought Vinny did a great, great job developing the young guys, and I think it will be very hard for anyone to come in and do a better job than he did."
The Magic will try to complete a four-game sweep of the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night in their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Jeff Van Gundy, working as an ESPN analyst, was critical of the Bulls' handling of Del Negro during a nationally televised broadcast several weeks ago, and his brother agreed.
"From midseason on, I don't think Vinny got much support from their organization," Stan said. "I didn't understand -- you never know the inner-workings, and so maybe there was some stuff behind the scenes -- but from a coaching perspective, Vinny did a very, very good job with that team.
"They gave up their two best wing scorers in [Ben] Gordon and [John] Salmons, and they were a great defensive team that struggled to score. I don't think that's shocking when you give up two guys like that. The front office makes the decision to make those trades [Gordon left via free agency], and then Vinny's the scapegoat for it. [It's a] hard thing to understand."
As for speculation that Jeff is a possible candidate for the Bulls opening, Stan was skeptical.
"I don't think he will coach again next season," he said. "I think there's other priorities in his life. I'd be surprised, in fact, I'd be very, very, surprised if he were back coaching next year."
When asked specifically if he thought his brother would listen if a team like the Bulls came calling, the Orlando coach went a step further.
"I don't even think he would have a willingness to interview," he said.
Van Gundy was complimentary about the Bulls' future led by All-Star point guard Derrick Rose, but he disagreed with the notion that the team had to focus on coaching candidates who had success with point guards in the past.
"I thought Vinny had great success with him," he said. "I thought he developed great and Vinny had great success with him, so if you want a guy who's had success with point guards I would think Vinny would be at the top of your list."
Is there a particular coaching candidate who Van Gundy thinks would be a better fit for the Bulls right now?
"Yeah," he said. "Vinny Del Negro."
Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com.
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11hMatt Walks, ESPN.com