Bulls and Vinny prepare for 2010 and Ben Gordon


Dec 31

It’s about to be 2010. Do you know where your coach is? Who knows what to call it now as Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro went on the road, so he faced another round of questions about his job.

Vinny seemed in a light mood before the Bulls played the Pistons Thursday, so I wished him a Happy New Year and asked him to reflect on 2009.

“Let’s just say it’s been an interesting year,” Del Negro said with a laugh.

Asked if the playoff series with the Celtics was the highlight, Del Negro said his highlight with the Bulls “probably (was) to see the development of the players. I’ve had my career. My job now is to help those guys have successful careers. That’s the responsibility, to be the leader, to be successful and help them get better. When I see the development of some of them and what they are doing this year, that makes me feel better than anything.”

Asked about general manager Gar Forman’s comments regarding the team, Del Negro said: “It’s been beat up so much. I want to just focus on the game, concentrate on what my job is with the team. That stuff will play itself out. I think we just have to move forward and see what direction things go.

“That’s not my decision (to determine whether I deserve a chance to continue),” said Del Negro. “It’s easy for me to make that decision, but it’s not my decision to make. I have a lot of confidence not only in myself but my staff has done a tremendous job. They’re experienced and been around, and I’m just going to continue making sure we’re prepared as best we can, get these young guys continually developing and moving in the right direction.”

Back to basketball, the Bulls get a look at a healthier Ben Gordon, who had just suffered a sprained ankle when the Pistons were in Chicago earlier in December. Gordon said he’s not fully recovered, but after missing nine games he’s doing better and admitted he is looking forward to playing his former team, contrary to what he’d been saying then.

“I was still out there limping,” Gordon said about that December game in the United Center. “I had to sit out nine more games. The ankle wasn’t getting any better. I didn’t stay off it, so it lingered. It’s feeling a lot better, though I’m not all the way there.

“When I got in the building (to play the Bulls) I got a lot more excited,” said Gordon. “I didn’t know for sure I was going to play, but I got excited and decided to give it a go. I didn’t know how I’d feel, but I got excited when I got in there. I’m excited to play against the Bulls, so it should be fun. Kirk (Hinrich) was injured last time, so that will be fun. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to go out there against my former teammates and get a win.”

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