May 22, 2012, 12:16 PM EDT
It is a question Clippers management has been asking itself since the day after they traded for Chris Paul:
Is Vinny Del Negro the right coach to lead this team as a contender?
The Clippers have an option on Del Negro for next season but are not making any quick decisions, GM Neil Olshey told the Los Angeles Times. He said he wouldn’t really discuss it.
“I think we deserve the same courtesy everybody else gets. … [Atlanta Hawks Coach] Larry Drew got his option picked up a few days [after their season ended]. … I think Vinny did a great job, and that’s as far as I’m going to go today.”
Del Negro said “All that stuff works itself out,” and added that he was “not going to get into my contract stuff.”
The Clippers had a good season — they were 40-26, the five seed in the West, and they advanced to the second round of the playoffs. The Clippers grew in the playoffs and for stretches this season played good defense.
But his pick-and-roll heavy offense was slowed when he ran into a real contender in San Antonio. The Clippers defense was inconsistent all season and was expose by the Spurs (although, to be fair, the way the Spurs are playing on offense they are going to expose any and everyone). The thing is, Del Negro was hired to do one job — coach up a young team — but ended up in a totally different job the day Chris Paul arrived.
It’s easy to imagine the Clippers taking the next step in their evolution with someone like Stan Van Gundy were brought in as coach. But would the players want him (he’s not loved around the league) and would owner Donald Sterling pay the price tag for him?
Olshey needs to sit down with Chris Paul and discuss Del Negro. Not that CP3 should get to make the call, but Paul is the heart of this team and a free agent after next season. You need to keep him, and keep him happy. Plus, there are few players with a higher basketball IQ in the game. Ask him, listen to his advice.
Just don’t expect a quick move.
- Cavs GM: It’s “highly unlikely” Kevin Love returns at all in playoffs, even if Cavs make Finals 0
- No Kevin Love, no J.R. Smith to start, how much trouble is Cleveland in? 2
- PBT Extra: Who wins Game 5 between Spurs, Clippers? Flip a coin. 4
- PBT Extra: Rockets must adjust to new Mavericks starting lineup in Game 5 9
- Portland comes from 10 down in fourth quarter to win 99-92, stay alive in series 5
- Bucks stay alive behind big backcourt performance to force Game 6 vs. Bulls 25
- Incredible 35-point performance from Deron Williams leads Nets to overtime Game 4 win over Hawks 11
- PBT Extra with NBASavant.com: Wizard’s defense peaking at right time 2