CHICAGO, April 14 (UPI) -- The Chicago Bulls Wednesday acknowledged a confrontation between head Coach Vinny Del Negro and Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson.
Bulls General Manager Gar Forman released a statement saying the dispute between the two was "the result of each expressing their passion about the health and well being of their players and the desire to win basketball games."
Yahoo! Sports originally reported that Paxson shoved Del Negro following a March 30 home loss to Phoenix.
The Web site said Paxson allegedly was angry the coach had twice played Joakim Noah longer than called for under a medically imposed time limit. Noah has a foot ailment called plantar fasciitis.
Forman's statement, while not specifically naming Paxson, read: "This disagreement, while not communicated well by either party in the heat of the moment and in the immediate aftermath of a tough loss, was a result of conflicting views, but all based on the fine balance required to ensure both the immediate and long-term success of the team and the health of its players."
The Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday sources confirmed the NBA club has hired independent lawyers to investigate the incident.
"Whatever happens is between the organization and myself," the newspaper quoted Del Negro as saying. "I focus on what I can control. I can control the preparation of the game and the staff and the players. I go about my job every day no matter what happens. I'm a competitor."
The shoving allegedly occurred in Del Negro's office after Paxson started in on the coach verbally and Del Negro responded by getting up from his chair and approaching him.
Chicago is 40-41 and still in the hunt for a spot in the NBA playoffs.