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How hot is Vinny Del Negro’s seat? Well, if they lose to Memphis, very.

Apr 18, 2013, 9:50 PM EDT

Vinny Del Negro AP

There have been no shortage of people around the Clippers wondering if Vinny Del Negro really had the coaching chops to lead this team to new heights. And so far he has — they reached the second round of the playoffs last season for just the second time since coming to Los Angeles, then this season they won broke the 50-win barrier and won the Pacific Division for the first time ever.

But are the Clippers doing that because of or in spite of Del Negro?

They run simplistic offensive sets and their defense throws a lot of different looks at you but they don’t execute any of them at an elite level. Yet they win. They put on a show. And if you’ve got Chris Paul on your team, shouldn’t you let him run the offense?

Del Negro’s future with the franchise is wobbly — he is in the last year of his contract and if the Clippers can’t get past a very good Grizzlies team in the first round the blame could fall on the coach.

Del Negro’s status was discussed by T.J. Simers in the Los Angeles Times (in a column defending the coach).

The front office turned sour on Del Negro earlier this season when he chatted with Celtics’ boss Danny Ainge about a deal to acquire Kevin Garnett. They felt it wasn’t his place to do so. Hard feelings remain.

First off, one hint from Chris Paul either way could decide Del Negro’s fate.

Paul is a fierce competitor, he wants to win. Badly. He doesn’t want to be a coach killer but if he thinks the team lacks discipline or offensive set diversity and that is keeping them from advancing, he’ll hint to management it’s time for a change.

If the Clippers don’t get out of the first round, he may not have to.

  1. losanginsight - Apr 18, 2013 at 9:58 PM

    Very hot. Not getting past the first round.

    • dannymac17 - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:07 PM

      Quit comparing this team to that terrible one on the other side of Staples.

  2. Sideline Mob - Apr 18, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    Maybe it’s a little premature to say this… but if Del Negro goes, is it possible that BOTH Los Angeles franchises make a run at Phil Jackson this offseason?

    • eventhorizon04 - Apr 18, 2013 at 10:56 PM

      The Lakers GM already ruled out making a run for Phil Jackson by committing to keep D’Antoni for another season.

      With Jim Buss remaining firmly entrenched in power, I don’t see their anti-Phil Jackson stance changing.

      • justaride88 - Apr 19, 2013 at 1:08 AM

        What if Dwight says he dosn’t want to play for D’Antoni?

  3. saint1997 - Apr 18, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    It all depends on who else they can get. If they can grab either of the Van Gundys it seems to be the right decision

    • eventhorizon04 - Apr 18, 2013 at 10:58 PM

      A “let CP3 run the offense while coach Van Gundy teaches the team how to play elite defense” approach could work out really well. Also, good defense leads to more transition opportunities on offense, which the Clippers are already very good at capitalizing on.

      • abchome - Apr 19, 2013 at 7:27 AM

        And a coach who can make better use of an athletic free throw bricking center would certainly help.

    • justaride88 - Apr 19, 2013 at 1:06 AM

      It would be a bomb, if they would get Phil. Hes kind of saying that he would like to coach again. It’s Sure that he wont be interested in coaching Cavs of 76ers, but a contender and Clipers might be closest he could get to that. As a Lakers fan, I would crawl into fetus positon and sob for a 45 days.

  4. kb2408 - Apr 18, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    Memphis in six, so I guess Vinny might be in a little trouble soon.

    • dannymac17 - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:09 PM

      Another Lakers troll praying on the Clippers downfall. Fun stat:

      Clippers are 3-1 against Memphis

      and are also 4-0 against the garbage Lakers

      Have fun with that first round sweep via the Spurs cornball.

  5. justaride88 - Apr 19, 2013 at 1:00 AM

    From so called conteders, Clipers are worst coached team. Vinny has put EVERYTHING on Chris Poul sholders to the extent that Im not sure that he’s the one who’s controling he’s team anymore. Sometimes you can see that Clipers just aren’t doing what he has told them to do. Given the feud he supposedly is having with CP3, he might be done even if they come out of first round.

    Now, the really sad fact is that, when naming worst coaches on contender teams, it’s a pretty close call between him and Scott Brooks (and the fact that D’Antonies Lakers cant even contend).

  6. money2long - Apr 19, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    the more i think about it, the more i wish the clips jumped on that trevor ariza deal. he is much younger, longer and active than caron butler. i think ariza would have been a better disruption on defense against a lebron in the finals than what butler will be able to do. ariza provides more athleticism and why wouldn’t you want that in ‘lob city’ ? he can be better on the fast break. but i hear what the clippers say about not wanting to mess with chemistry. okay, but i wonder how much better you can do for butler in any future deals. the wizards were cleaning house, got rid of crawford and let webster take ariza’s place. the wizards were looking for vets and butler would have helped that movement. ariza just seems like a better fit alongside younger players like deandre and blake. that frontcourt would have been cool to see. ariza, blake and deandre. VERY athletic .

  7. MyTeamsAllStink - Apr 19, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    how great would it be if Phil Jackson became the Clippers coach?I bet the so called die hard Laker fans would be quick to ditch the flatbilled purple and gold caps for the blue and red

  8. lakerluver - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Keep dreaming, Clip fans, Phil will never coach your 2nd rate franchise. That is unless the Clips trade Blake for Dwight, and the LAKERS amnesty Kobe and he then signs with the Clips. Other than all that, it ain’t happening.

  9. lakerluver - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    @myteamsstink
    True LAKERS fans will NEVER become Clips fans. The LAKERS have a legacy of winning that dates back decades. You think Phil joining the Clips would make fans jump ship? Phil is the greatest coach ever, but he ain’t the freaking messiah!!

  10. albertmn - Apr 19, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    It sure would be a kick in the pants to the Laker brass if Phil replaced Vinny and was able to make playoff runs and/or win a title. I’m not necessarily saying Phil is a good fit, just that it would be kind of funny to those of us outside that market if it worked out that way.

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