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  1. #1
    Spurs Sage Russ's Avatar
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    Does anyone else remember the controversy that surrounded Vinny Del Negro's departure from the Spurs as a player?

    If I recall correctly, Vinny was a free agent who wanted to return to the Spurs but Pop apparently had other ideas. The story was that Pop and Vinny had dinner one night during the summer to discuss the situation.

    Then unexpectedly (according to Vinny) Pop went public after the dinner and blindsided Vinny by announcing that Vinny wanted a ton of money to re-sign with the Spurs. Vinny thought it was a cheap ploy by Pop to keep fan support when Pop intended to let a fairly popular player walk -- Pop didn't want a fan backlash.

    That launched a war of words between Pop and Vinny and a PR battle in the press.

    Vinny denied that he wanted anything close to amount of money that Pop referred to and countered that Pop just wanted Vinny gone but wanted to blame Vinny for the seperation.

    I hestitate to start a post about this, but I do seem to recall it happening (then again my mind is somewhat addled with age).

    So does anyone else remember any of this?
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  2. #2
    5 Rings, Faggot baseline bum's Avatar
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    Thank you Pop for getting that loser out of a Spurs uniform.
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  3. #3
    Believe.
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    All I remember is that Vinny was one of the few players/coaches that left sour publicly. Vinny had a really solid mid-range jumper but was not all that great defensively.
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  4. #4
    Damn You Commies T Park's Avatar
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    I thought it was vinny didn't want to be a backup to Mario Elie. It's been 14 years so my memory ain't that great. Plus per Internet so if it happened during the summer I had no idea.
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  5. #5
    Damn The Man Mr. Peabody's Avatar
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    Wasn't this the controversy that left Kevin O'Keefe without a job here in SA?

  6. #6
    GAME OVER gospursgojas's Avatar
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    That launched a war of words between Pop and Vinny and a PR battle in the press.
    What press? Gregg Simmons and David Sears? No one gave a shit about the Spurs back in '98.
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  7. #7
    Pump Bacon Cane's Avatar
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    It wasn't about the money or press. It was always about Vinny's douchey 80's hairdo. Pop wanted the haircut, Vinny said no, so Pop cut him out his own way.



    Carry on
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  8. #8
    That was not difficult. Obstructed_View's Avatar
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    Wasn't this the controversy that left Kevin O'Keefe without a job here in SA?
    If you're referring to O'Keefe's love for Del Negro and his inability to control himself when writing about it, then probably so.

  9. #9
    Damn You Commies T Park's Avatar
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    Wasn't this the controversy that left Kevin O'Keefe without a job here in SA?

    Yeah O'Keefe defended Vinny against Pop and ripped Pop big Tim in the paper right?

  10. #10
    Finals Mode DMC's Avatar
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    LoL Greg Simmons... I used to run into that dude in Sunova Beach all the time.
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  11. #11
    That was not difficult. Obstructed_View's Avatar
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    But it's not like Pop planted the story, particularly since O'Keefe was the one making all the noise about it. I also don't think Del Negro was so popular that it required media subterfuge to let him go. If Pop had a history of doing that in the last 14 years, I might be inclined to believe Vinny's side of this.

  12. #12
    Damn The Man Mr. Peabody's Avatar
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    If you're referring to O'Keefe's love for Del Negro and his inability to control himself when writing about it, then probably so.
    I remember after O'Keefe was ousted, he wrote some article in the SA Current called "The Ire of Pop" blasting Pop and saying the players felt that Pop couldn't coach his way out of a paper bag. Now, he's perhaps the most respected coach in the league.

  13. #13
    Spurs Sage Russ's Avatar
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    Wasn't this the controversy that left Kevin O'Keefe without a job here in SA?
    It was a part of a three-headed Pop controversy at the time -- the way Pop (allegedly) orchestrated the exile of Bob Hill, Kevin O'Keefe and Vinny Del Negro.

    Pop didn't gingerly take on the Spurs coaching job by sticking his toe in the water. He put his head down and charged into the line, hatchet in hand.

    But who can argue with the results that ensued?

  14. #14
    That was not difficult. Obstructed_View's Avatar
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    I remember after O'Keefe was ousted, he wrote some article in the SA Current called "The Ire of Pop" blasting Pop and saying the players felt that Pop couldn't coach his way out of a paper bag. Now, he's perhaps the most respected coach in the league.
    Meh, Pop gets way too much credit as an Xs and Os guy, it's true, but the fact remains that Pop does not have a track record of getting butthurt and leaking shit to the press, and Kevin O'Keefe, who loves all things Bob Hill and Vinny Del Negro, simply doesn't have history on his side.

  15. #15
    Clownin' fools Splits's Avatar
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    It wasn't about the money or press. It was always about Vinny's douchey 80's hairdo. Pop wanted the haircut, Vinny said no, so Pop cut him out his own way.



    Carry on
    I thought that was Dwayne Schntzius?

    Former University of Florida basketball center Dwayne Schintzius, of Brandon High, was the NBA draft's 24th overall pick in 1990. He liked the San Antonio Spurs and anticipated a long career there. But Spurs general manager Bob Bass didn't care for Schintzius' "lobster'' hairstyle.

    "He told me to cut it,'' Schintzius said. "So I got it cut and sent him the shavings in an envelope. I'm not sure he appreciated that. And then, away I went.''

  16. #16
    That was not difficult. Obstructed_View's Avatar
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    Popovich, who never cares about how things look, fired Bob Hill when David was coming back from injury, making it look like he didn't want the team to win and leaving a lot of people believing he was tanking for Duncan. I remember thinking exactly that at the time.

  17. #17
    Veteran
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    All I remember about the time Vinny was leaving was that everybody was so sad that Mrs. Vinny went with him.

  18. #18
    5. timvp's Avatar
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    The story according to Kevin O'Keeffe:

    -Pop, Vinny and Vinny's agent go out to dinner.

    -Pop tells Vinny's agent to make an outrageous offer just to act as a starting point.

    -Pop scoffs at the offer, makes it public and never calls back Vinny's agent.




    That scenario as painted by O'Keeffe was so unfathomable that the Spurs told the Express-News that they either have to fire O'Keeffe or the Spurs would stop giving preferred access to the paper. The Express-News decided to "re-assign" O'Keeffe and took him off the Spurs beat. O'Keeffe said if he couldn't write about the Spurs that he'd quit ... so he left.




    Either Pop pulled off the greatest two-pronged trolling of all-time (eliminating Del Negro and O'Keeffe with one stone) or O'Keeffe was still butthurt about Pop firing Bob Hill (who O'Keeffe was co-authoring a book with) and Pop no longer wanted Del Negro (and that "dinner" never happened).

    I think it's the latter but with CIA Pop, you can't completely rule out the former.
    Last edited by timvp; 05-13-2012 at 07:01 PM.

  19. #19
    bandwagoner fans suck ducks's Avatar
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    at that time pop was very high on d
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    ďItís hard for me to congratulate somebody after you just lose to them,Ē James said. ďIím a winner. Itís not being a poor sport or anything like that. If somebody beats you up, youíre not going to congratulate them. That doesnít make sense to me. Iím a competitor. Thatís what I do. It doesnít make sense for me to go over and shake somebodyís hand.Ē
    he had to email it to howard could not tell someone in person that


  20. #20
    That was not difficult. Obstructed_View's Avatar
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    That scenario as painted by O'Keeffe was so unfathomable that the Spurs told the Express-News that they either have to fire O'Keeffe or the Spurs would stop giving preferred access to the paper.
    If you can dig up the original story by O'Keefe, I'd love to see it. I've had no luck looking.

    Second, is what the Spurs told the EN on record or is that just the way you assume it went down? Given O'Keefe's complete lack of partiality when it came to Pop, I wouldn't be surprised if there was pressure put on, but it seems like a rather realistic response to a writer who's gone off the deep end and lost most of his objectivity.

  21. #21
    Get Refuel! FromWayDowntown's Avatar
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    If you can dig up the original story by O'Keefe, I'd love to see it. I've had no luck looking.
    Here's a blurb about O'Keeffe's account:

    Word out of San Antonio is that Spurs coach/general manager Gregg Popovich pulled a fast one to get rid of popular guard Vinny Del Negro. San Antonio Express-News columnist Kevin O'Keeffe wrote that Popovich, not wanting to look like the bad guy, asked Del Negro's agent to come in with a high offer that he could then reject. They'd eventually settle on a lower figure, making Popovich look like a cost-cutting hero. But Popovich used the high numbers as an excuse to dump Del Negro and sign Steve Kerr for less than what Del Negro realistically could have expected. "With Popovich," O'Keeffe wrote, "it's always monkey business."

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/6...ond-Clock.html

    This, however, seems to be the original piece:

    Del Negro hurt over tale of greed

    Kevin O'Keeffe

    Publication Date : February 1, 1999

    Vincent Joseph Del Negro sounded weary as we spoke at what was a very late hour in Italy.
    Del Negro's team had been eliminated from the Italian Cup Championship Tournament and, ever the competitor, that bothered him.

    But what also bothers Del Negro is what happened in San Antonio, where he and his wife, Lynn, planned to spend the remainder of his basketball life and beyond.

    "Hurt ... angry," Del Negro began, making his first public comments since being dumped by the Spurs after six years of exemplary service on and off the court. "There has been maliciousness. I hated the way I was made out to look greedy.

    "Greedy? Far from it. If I was so greedy, why wouldn't I have taken the contract to remain in Italy rather than sign for the $1.75 million exception in Milwaukee?"

    Exactly.

    Del Negro turned down $4 million per season from his Italian League team to accept a four-year contract with the Bucks.

    Today, Del Negro is in Milwaukee taking his physical. He'll be on the practice floor Tuesday. The Bucks open the season Friday night in Charlotte, N.C.

    "George Karl has been wonderful," Del Negro said of his telephone conversations with the Bucks' head coach. "He has done everything for me that he could do. I'm looking forward to playing for him. It's nice to know that you're wanted."

    Which, sadly, Del Negro wasn't in San Antonio.

    As I mentioned in my Jan. 22 column, Spurs general manager/coach Gregg Popovich indicated to Del Negro and his representative, Jack Marin, in October 1997 that Vinny wasn't wanted here.

    That's when a contract proposal from Marin that Popovich asked for was ignored. Del Negro, who was a free agent after last season, confirmed again that neither he nor Marin ever heard one word in response from Popovich.

    But that lack of professionalism was topped by Popovich's very own brand of "bait-and-switch" last month.

    That's when Popovich asked Marin to come in high - I was told Popovich's exact words were, "Make an offer that makes you look like an idiot and me look like a hero."

    Marin did just that and Popovich feigned disgust and horror, putting out that Del Negro was demanding $5 million per season and using that as an excuse to dump the popular player, who could play off-guard and the point.

    And lest we forget, during a dinner between Popovich and Marin on Jan. 14, it was Popovich who talked about giving Del Negro what he deserved.

    The parameters of a five-year deal, which began at $3 million and topped out at $4.4 million, were discussed at that dinner.

    Now, Popovich reportedly has denied this scenario on his radio show.

    But you be the judge.

    Do you honestly believe Del Negro would demand $5 million?

    C'mon.

    Popovich not only is insulting a good man in Del Negro, but the Spurs' boss is insulting the intelligence of every one of you.

    As we spoke, I could tell Del Negro was holding back. He chose his words carefully.

    Del Negro is the consummate pro. He's never been one to speak out publicly on matters.

    Still, there was no mistaking the hurt he feels on this one.

    "It didn't have to come to this," Del Negro said. "If they really wanted me, as Pop told Jack, they should never have let me become a free agent."

    Del Negro had nothing but praise for the additions of Steve Kerr, Mario Elie and Jerome Kersey to the Spurs' roster.

    "All good players, all good guys," Del Negro said.

    Yet, he didn't try to hide how disappointed he was not having the chance to play with the Spurs this season.

    "With Tim (Duncan), Dave (Robinson), Avery (Johnson) and a healthy Sean (Elliott), that's going to be an excellent team," Del Negro said. "And after being in San Antonio for six years, going through coaching changes and all, I was looking forward to being with the team.

    "The next two years with Tim, the team really has a chance to go places."

    Instead, the 32-year-old Del Negro must put his golf clubs in the closet for the cold climes of Milwaukee.

    "I'm excited about the challenge," he said. "I'm excited about being coached by George. And, as I said, I'm glad to be going where somebody wants me."

    In time, Del Negro said he wants to talk to Spurs owner Peter Holt about how things were handled.

    I wish I thought that would matter to Holt, who seems to be under a Svengali- like spell performed by Popovich.

    What's curious about all of this is that Popovich's pettiness regarding Del Negro cost him.

    Portland, Detroit, Miami and Phoenix also had an interest in Del Negro.

    Why wouldn't GM Popovich have done a sign-and-trade deal to have gotten something for his "resource?"

    "Bottom line," Del Negro began, "all Pop had to do was pick up the telephone and say, 'Vinny, we're not going to sign you.' I understand that's business."

    But with Popovich, it's always monkey business.
    By the way, SPARKY developed a good archive of O'Keeffe's criticisms a few years ago, here:

    http://www.spurstalk.com/forums/show...t=7069&page=15

  22. #22
    Damn The Man Mr. Peabody's Avatar
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    If you can dig up the original story by O'Keefe, I'd love to see it. I've had no luck looking.

    Second, is what the Spurs told the EN on record or is that just the way you assume it went down? Given O'Keefe's complete lack of partiality when it came to Pop, I wouldn't be surprised if there was pressure put on, but it seems like a rather realistic response to a writer who's gone off the deep end and lost most of his objectivity.
    That's what O'Keefe reported in his article in the Current. He said the Spurs insisted that he not cover the team anymore and the Express capitulated. O'Keefe said that since they were the only pro team in town, it didn't leave him much to write on and quit.

  23. #23
    5. timvp's Avatar
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    I wonder what O'Keeffe thinks about Pop and Holt four championships later.

    Not re-signing Vinny might have been the best move before the '99 season.

  24. #24
    Tronaldo tbh lefty's Avatar
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    Thank you Pop for getting that loser out of a Spurs uniform.
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  25. #25
    5 Rings, Faggot baseline bum's Avatar
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    "Hurt ... angry," Del Negro began, making his first public comments since being dumped by the Spurs after six years of exemplary service on and off the court.


    Six years of being a piece of shit who held the team back. Fuck Del Negro, the Spurs would have never won a title with that faggot in the rotation.

  26. #26
    Damn You Commies T Park's Avatar
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    @ at the thought of Pop ever saying "Make something that makes me look like a hero"

    GMAFB

  27. #27
    Damn The Man Mr. Peabody's Avatar
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    I wonder what O'Keeffe thinks about Pop and Holt four championships later.

    Not re-signing Vinny might have been the best move before the '99 season.
    When you consider that they brought in Kersey and Elie, both key parts of the '99 championship, Pop looks like a genius. And Del Negro wasn't known for his defense and that was the identity of that team.

  28. #28
    5 Rings, Faggot baseline bum's Avatar
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    I wonder what O'Keeffe thinks about Pop and Holt four championships later.

    Not re-signing Vinny might have been the best move before the '99 season.
    When I heard they were about to sign Elie and that talks with Del Negro had gone really sour it was one of my favorite moments in franchise history, real talk.

  29. #29
    OH YOU LIKE IT!!! slick'81's Avatar
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    it was painful watching vinny bring the ball up the court lol pg
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  30. #30
    I make love to pressure shyne's Avatar
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    Lol I can't even try to picture pop that way, regardless good move pop no Kerr no title in 03.

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