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Clippers taking their time with coach Vinny Del Negro

May 22, 2012, 12:16 PM EDT

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Four Getty Images

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.

  1. dougmanoh - May 22, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Time to go out and get a former coach of the year. Like an Avery Johnson.

  2. abchome - May 22, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    VDN has to go for the Clippers to move up to the next level. Even as good as Carlisle, he was fired right after leading the Pistons to conference final and winning COY the previous year, so Larry Brown would take over and lead them to champion.

  3. lunasceiling - May 22, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Stan Van Gundy. If the Magic were stupid enough to let their spoiled brat superstar call the shots for the front office and fire a coach with a 65% winning percentage over 5 years, then the Clippers should take advantage of that stupidity.

  4. oside760 - May 22, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    clips should get jerry sloan

  5. observingii - May 22, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    IF the Clippers are dumb enough to let a player, even one of Paul’s quality, determine their coach, they deserve every bad thing that can happen to them. There’s no guarantee that Paul will stay with the team when his deal runs out. There’s no guarantee that Griffin won’t be permanently crippled if he insists on maintaining his confrontational style. Whoever gets this job should beware of future pitfalls.

  6. rosesacl - May 22, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    There are a few good options out there to replace del negro…. i hope it’s done sooner than later to give the players maximum time with the new coach before the next season starts.

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