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Clippers respond publicly to appease the ‘angry’ Chris Paul

Jun 1, 2013, 8:00 AM EST

Los Angeles Clippers Paul reacts during their loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 5 of their NBA Western Conference Quarterfinals basketball playoff series in Los Angeles Reuters

When anonymously sourced reports surfaced that Chris Paul wasn’t the least bit happy with being tagged as the one responsible for the Clippers parting ways with Vinny Del Negro, the logical move would be for the team to reach out to Paul directly — and privately — to let him know that wasn’t the case.

But logic and the Clippers have never played well together, so the franchise embarrassed itself yet again.

Because both team owner Donald Sterling and the departed Del Negro each had their own way of hinting that Paul was indeed behind the decision — and again, even if Paul didn’t go to bat for Del Negro, that silence still qualifies as saying something — the team felt that it needed to respond publicly to the reports of their unrestricted free agent point guard being ‘angry’ with the way this whole thing has been playing out.

From Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com:

“The decision not to extend a contract to Vinny Del Negro was an organizational decision from the top down,” Clippers vice president of basketball operations Gary Sacks said. “Our front office evaluated the season and Vinny’s three years here before making this move, and our conclusion and feeling was that we needed a change.”

“Our goal is to compete for a championship and I felt that in order for us to keep improving, we needed to make this move to help us achieve that goal,” Sacks said. “With the talent we have on our roster, it’s not our goal just to make the playoffs. It’s our goal to compete for a championship, and we need to find the right person who can lead us there.”

All of that might be true, and Del Negro wasn’t without his flaws. But if the team truly was concerned about how Paul would be perceived throughout this process, they would have said these things from the very beginning, and repeated them on a loop to any and all media outlets willing to listen.

By jumping in after the fact like this, the organization is coming from a position of weakness. Those in charge are letting it be known that they will do whatever is necessary to placate Paul to make sure he’ll re-sign with the Clippers in free agency.

That’s not the wrong thing to do, but this is the wrong way to go about it. Paul should take the way the Clippers have handled this whole thing as a sign that they still aren’t ready to compete at the level of of the elite, and look elsewhere for where he’ll spend his future.

He won’t, of course, because the Los Angeles market is too great of a place to play, and because he can get a max contract from the Clippers while playing for a team that’s relatively stocked with talent. But the organization groveling at Paul’s feet and responding to his every reported whim publicly is not the way to build a long-term, two-way relationship full of mutual respect with its cornerstone superstar.

  1. ocgunslinger - Jun 1, 2013 at 8:09 AM

    Clipper management screwing things up? Really?

  2. charlutes - Jun 1, 2013 at 8:13 AM

    Let me understand you. Your saying that because the Clippers now publicly say that Paul had nothing to do with the firing, they somehow aren’t prepared to compete with elite teams? Is this your first day covering sports? You should know that this is a PR story that has nothing to do with basketball. Paul doesn’t like the situation because it paints him as a coach killer. These comments, public or otherwise will have 0 effect on how the players play or the new coach leads, and quite obviously have nothing to do with playing at an elite level.

  3. mungman69 - Jun 1, 2013 at 8:23 AM

    Paul isn’t leaving LA but the Clippers are still a star away from a championship.

  4. saint1997 - Jun 1, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    I am not totally on board with your affirmation that this means CP should look elsewhere to play. Really, where else could he sign that would give him a greater chance to compete?

  5. addict2sport - Jun 1, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    A first round exit used to be a successful season for this franchise. This whole winning record thing is new to them. They definitely aren’t used to working to keep a big name free agent around. The Clippers are obviously uncomfortable being in the news for something other than a punch line. Hard to blame them for a few hiccups along the way.

  6. fonefifty - Jun 1, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    “Appease,” “placate” — this is a just a hack article designed to keep going the demanding diva persona you media whores invented to bash Chris Paul. First CP3 is criticized for demanding VDN’s firing; now you criticize CP3 for being silent on the matter. Your conclusion that the Clippers can’t compete on an elite level is ridiculous and has nothing to do with anything you’ve written!

  7. jack3dsd - Jun 1, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    its kinda funny he is mad at the clippers for doing everything he asks them to do

    • fonefifty - Jun 1, 2013 at 11:06 AM

      You’ve bought into the media nonsense hype. CP3 didn’t ask them to do anything — I’m sure a big part of the decision to let VDN go was because VDN had lost the confidence and support of the players and management. CP3 is angry because all the blame is on him when the decision was made by those with decision-making authority. Look at the facts — VDN was not a good coach — the talent on the team is what got him as far has he got — not the other way around. But talent can get you only so far without a game plan, and Vinny didn’t have one. Don’t blame CP3 — he didn’t have to ask, the decision was already made.

  8. themagicfanguy - Jun 1, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    @Mungman Trading Bledsoe to the Magic for Afflalo would be a great start!

  9. papadawa - Jun 1, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    Pollakoff is right on point…the Clippers front office is showing its fragility and inexperience, in dealing with success and superstars…this could end up very badly, down the line, for the Clips…this, in addition to the simple fact that as talented as this group is, it is still heavily flawed, due to the deficiencies in its front line personnel…despite having the “Lob City” duo, that supplies outstanding ESPN top ten dunks, neither of them have proven to be effective low post, go to options, especially, during crunch time…and to make matters worse, neither are very good interior defenders…so, the Clippers have a lot of work to do, front officewise, to move into the realm of the top notch well run NBA organizations, such as San Antonio, Lakers, Celtics and possibly Dallas…

  10. jamieaadams - Jun 1, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Something tells me Paul’s anger will subside just in time to sign that contract.

  11. gmsingh - Jun 1, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    Sure they did. And Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard hang out and have beers together.

  12. kanemoney - Jun 1, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    An apology plus an additional 28 mil says the clips re-sign him.

    Still not a championship team however.

  13. dmcm510 - Jun 1, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Do not miss this drama in New Orleans for one second. CP3’s way or the highway. Next move, Clippers hire Byron Scott to placate CP3.

  14. charlutes - Jun 1, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    @ fonefifty, agreed.

  15. sportsnut101 - Jun 1, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    Cp3 will not make it to finals in the west sorry especially with clippers team who has no front court game

    I wish the clippers would just let him walk. U don’t have to beg him Hes knee always hurt every yr. he’s not gonna pass on the pay

  16. sportsnut101 - Jun 1, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    Go back home Chris to Atlanta him al horford. Jeff Teague Lou Williams plus they can sign another player

  17. jollyjoker2 - Jun 1, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    Vinny was a good coach in a bad basketball team for a few decades. Its sort of like almost winning and then killing off what made you half decent.

    • muhangis - Jun 2, 2013 at 2:13 AM

      There is nothing about Vinny that says he’s a good coach. He gets opportunity after opportunity, but the guy sucks. And everywhere he goes, his players and the fans hate him!

  18. noring4youstill - Jun 2, 2013 at 12:51 AM

    He thought his last name was racist

  19. kavika6 - Jun 2, 2013 at 6:27 AM

    “The decision not to extend a contract to Vinny Del Negro was an organizational decision from the top down,”

    Unfortunately Chris Paul IS the top.

    They will continue to kiss this egomaniacal hothead’s butt until he resigns.

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