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No pressure Vinny Del Negro, but it’s the last year of your contract

Sep 27, 2012, 9:55 AM EDT

Vinny Del Negro AP

All season long the talk around the Los Angeles Clippers will be about contracts — Chris Paul will be a free agent next summer. It’s the smart move financially for him to become a free agent and re-sign with the Clippers, but that free agency gives him leverage. Enough leverage that pretty much every player he asked the Clippers to sign they did this past summer.

But it’s not the only contract up next summer.

Coach Vinny Del Negro’s is as well, the Clippers picked up a one-year option for this season to keep him. In one sense he’s in a good spot because owner Donald Sterling likes him, but with a good young team and an expiring contract Del Negro’s seat is going to be warm this season.

He is not too worried about it, he told Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

Del Negro said there has been “a little bit” of discussion about his contract extension, but there is “no sense of urgency for either side” to get a deal done right away.

“Of course, I wish it was under maybe a different situation,” Del Negro said. “But I was on a one-year deal last year and I’m still here and enjoying myself and believe in what we’re doing. I think all those things work themselves out over time.”

In the middle of last season, then Clippers GM Neil Olshey was pushing to have Del Negro removed, but didn’t win that battle. Now Olshey is collecting a larger paycheck in Portland and Del Negro has more power within the organization. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have leverage to push for a change if they want it, but neither wants to be seen as a coach killer.

The Clippers made the second round of the playoffs last year, only they second time they have gotten that far with Sterling as owner (32 years). They have been a back-to-back playoff team just once, but they should match that again this season (especially with new additions like Jamal Crawford and Lamar Odom). It’s hard to let a coach go in that setting.

But there are still questions about whether Del Negro is getting everything out of this team and how far he can really take them. Questions that will undoubtedly come up this season.

But in the end, it’s Sterling’s decision. So anything could happen.

  1. michaeljordanseviltwin - Sep 27, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    I read last year that Olshey was walking around with the termination paperwork just waiting for the okay… Sterling held out for a few days and the Clippers peeled off a few consecutive wins, saving Del Negro.

    I watched about 40 Clippers games last year and the dude is incompetent. Chauncey Billups & Chris Paul have far more influence on the team and that’s probably a good thing. If Billups can’t stay healthy this season I’d say give him a shot at coach. Or let’s even try a player coach. Anything but Del Negro.

  2. losangeleschargers17 - Sep 27, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Coaches don’t win games, and players do. I del negro is great in that he doesn’t overly dictate players. The letting them be more focused on the game. It’s a veteran locker room, they don’t need no coach screaming at them like they are a bunch of kids. That’s why the players respect del negro.

    • badintent - Sep 29, 2012 at 2:13 AM

      You get it, michealjordan gets nothing ! And his look -a-like is running the Cats into a joke, they’re the third best Basketball team in the state.

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