Stern to look into reported Bulls spat

NBA commissioner David Stern said he'll be talking to a Chicago Bulls representative at a Thursday board meeting regarding reports of an altercation between Bulls vice president John Paxson and coach Vinny Del Negro.

"It's been brought to my attention," Stern said Wednesday during a teleconference previewing the postseason. "It sounded to me like what we call a scuffle in practice. This time there was a scuffle in the locker room.

"But I'll be talking to the Chicago representative at the board meeting to try to get a deeper understanding of whether it's something the league should become involved in."

There are conflicting accounts of what happened in the coaches' office after a March 30 Bulls loss to the Phoenix Suns at the United Center. The dispute was over Del Negro exceeding the time limit for Joakim Noah, who's battled plantar fasciitis much of the season. Yahoo Sports reported Tuesday that Paxson grabbed Del Negro by his tie and jabbed him in the chest, apparently trying to provoke a fight. Sources have confirmed to ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher that Paxson was the aggressor.

But a source close to the situation told ESPNChicago.com that Del Negro was the aggressor, and that he had a previous altercation with Bulls GM Gar Forman.

"If it happened, it's not something that should," Stern said. "And we'll be talking to Chicago about that.

"I want to understand better exactly how detrimental this was and what actually occurred," Stern continued.

Stern went on to say executives will be held to at least as high a standard as players.