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Are Griffin, CP3 comments the start of pressure on Vinny Del Negro?

Nov 27, 2012, 1:46 PM EDT

Vinny Del Negro AP

The Clippers are struggling — 1-4 in their last five. The why is that two of the reasons they showed so much improvement at the start of the season have regressed — their defense has been a total mess the past week plus and DeAndre Jordan has reverted to his old self. That and defenses are now paying attention to Jamal Crawford as the sixth man. Teams have adjusted to the Clippers, now they have to counter those moves.

That has yet to happen. And after the Clippers ugliest loss of the season Monday night to the Hornets, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin made interesting comments as relayed by the Orange County Register. First Blake.

“We tried to change some of the things we’ve been successful doing,” Griffin said.

And CP3, via twitter:


Be careful reading too much into this last comment, Paul played for Monty Williams in New Orleans and has said in the past how much he respects him. This likely was not intended as a shot across the bow of Vinny Del Negro. Even if it can feel like one.

But the question remains — can Del Negro help turn this Clippers team around and help make them contenders?

And will Chris Paul — who is a free agent next summer and not been afraid to use that leverage to ask for players like Crawford to come to Los Angeles — be willing to use that on the coach?

He wasn’t last summer. Both Griffin (who got a max extension) and Paul had leverage but didn’t use it to pressure for a coaching change. Sources said that was in part because they didn’t want to be seen as coach killers, especially for a coach who had just taken the franchise as deep as it had gone in the playoffs in decades.

But that’s different than trusting him totally.

There is another dynamic here — reports are that then Clippers GM Neil Olshey wanted to make a coaching change in the middle of last season. He wasn’t given the okay. Now Olshey is gone (to Portland) and reports are owner Donald Sterling really likes Del Negro.

There is not a lot of pressure on Del Negro yet, the Clippers are not going to follow the pattern of their building-mates and try to make a pre-emptive move to change coaches. He is safe. But there will be pressure building on Del Negro if the Clippers do not take a step forward as the season wears on and into the playoffs.

And while the Clippers stars are not intentionally hammering their coach in public right now, their inadvertent comments seem to suggest all is not well in Clippers land. Which is obvious from the last five games.

  1. sun602 - Nov 27, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    Vinny Del Negro on CP3’s Comments: We call that sonnin

  2. thomaskouns - Nov 27, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Phil Jackson ‘could’ be an excellent fit here.

    First of all, this is a player’s league so you don’t know how much of this is Vinny or the players simply scapegoating someone or don’t like applying what Vinny is asking them to do. They couldn’t pull that with Phil. (Side note: Griffin is still pretty much the same player he was when he came into the league and hasn’t really built an offensive repertoire and often ‘gets by’ on his tremendous size and athleticism.)

    Secondly, Phil wants to stay if the LA area.

    Concers would be if Phil would want to working for Sterling and I’m not sure Paul or Griffin are ideal fits for the Triangle. Phil only takes jobs that have the ‘right pieces’ to win Championships.

    • zerole00 - Nov 27, 2012 at 2:37 PM

      As absurd as this sounds, I think Phil might be willing to do it just out of spite to stick it to Jim Buss after the recent disaster.

      • cosanostra71 - Nov 27, 2012 at 7:18 PM

        I don’t see it happening. Phil said just yesterday he doesn’t want to coach anymore. He likely only considered the Lakers job because he knew the infrastructure already.

    • aqzi - Nov 27, 2012 at 6:06 PM

      Would be awesome, but I can’t see it happening. The reason Sterling likes Del Negro so much is that Chicago was paying (maybe still is) part of his salary from when they released him. Also, the only team that Phil coached that didn’t have championship potential was the 2005-06 Lakers, and Phil was ridiculously overpaid. The hiring was intended to show Lakers season ticket holders that ownership had not given up on the team.

    • cosanostra71 - Nov 27, 2012 at 7:17 PM

      Phil only takes jobs that have the ‘right pieces’ to win Championships.

      The Lakers had the “right pieces” to win a championship when Phil took over in 2005? When they had Kwame Brown and Smush Parker starting?

  3. sportsnut101 - Nov 27, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Chris Paul the baby

    Blake griffin the flopper

    So now it’s the coach fault for Paul shooting like shit and Blake not getting monster dunks

    Maybe he not the best coach but he did coach the team into playoffs with less talented team last yr

    When are these million dollar baby’s gonna stop crying.

  4. jedifriedchicken - Nov 27, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    This is the issue I have with Clipper fans. As soon as the team shows any sort of success, Clipper fans lose their heads, and start boasting about how great they are, that they’re equals to the Lakers, if not better. They haven’t won anything though. They’ve only been to the second round three times, and they haven’t even one their division. Yes, there’s hope for them now, after their terrible owner decided to quit being cheap, but letting their great GM, who built their good team was a mistake, and ignoring his advice regarding upgrading their coach was most likely a mistake as well. As a Laker fan, I would love for the Clippers to continue to grow to a point where a rivalry between the two teams could be taken seriously, and I could despise them nearly as much as I do the Celtics.

  5. katra2logic - Nov 27, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    I am no fan of VDN but for those of us who watched the game it was not a coaching problem.

    Griffin was 1 of 9 for a mighty 4 points last night (plus 4 turnovers and 6 fouls), perhaps he should save his breath for playing the games.

  6. oldstylelight - Nov 27, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    Vinny Del Negro has coached 326 career games. Because of the lockout-shortened season, that equals out to two games shy of 4 full NBA seasons. During that time he’s amassed a career record of 162-164. Coaching all-star players like Derrick
    Rose, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and so on and so forth, he’s been unable to break .500 (in his 2 full seasons with the Bulls he was 82-82). He is the epitome of average, and I’m guessing the Clips win the next two games and prove it, bringing his career record through 4 seasons to .500. If the Clippers are serious about winning a championship they need to FIRE DEL NEGRO.

  7. nbascreed - Nov 27, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    Ouch! That Paul comment sounded like a shot to me.

  8. stayhigh_247 - Nov 27, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    Its waay too early to hit the panic button. I would give Vinny a B or B+ as a coach. What he has going for him this time though, are on the court coaches like Grant Hill, Chauncey & to a lessor degree L.O to go along with CP3’s b ball IQ. That will help them come playoffs. But he seriously has no excuses with one of the deepest squads in the league, all roads are gonna point to him if they fail

  9. choppa2lis - Nov 27, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    chris paul is a snake POS fake. his good guy act is a fraud like he showed in new orleans. nothing but a con artist just like his best bud lebron james.

  10. jerdogthompson - Nov 27, 2012 at 9:38 PM


    Exactly what kind of evidence do you have to back up that comment about the vaunted and great CP3? Let me guess, ZERO. Shut UR pie hole douche, or better yet get out your parents basement first before coming to this board. You reek of insecurity and jiz.

  11. paulwoodsby - Nov 28, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    Lay off Del Negro. It’s tougher babysitting spoiled brats than you think.

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