NBA: Five Reasons the Los Angeles Clippers Should Let Vinny Del Negro Walk
Five Reasons the Los Angeles Clippers Should Let Vinny Del Negro Go
The job status of Los Angeles Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro has been in doubt for the last couple offseasons, but now the temperature of his hot seat has turned up with his contract expiring at the end of June.
The Clippers won 56 games during the regular season and won the first division title in franchise history this season, and then beat the Memphis Grizzlies in the first two games of their first-round playoff series. But four straight losses to the Grizzlies led to a quick playoff exit, and the inevitable speculation over Del Negro’s future employment has followed.
For what it’s worth, Del Negro has said he would like to be back as Clippers’ head coach next season. But the decision obviously does not fall to him, and vice president of basketball operations Gary Sacks has suggested that Del Negro’s future has not been decided. Owner Donald Sterling will definitely have a significant say in the direction the Clippers take, in terms of keeping or firing Del Negro and who the team will target as his replacement. Talk about a possible contract extension reportedly took place during the season, but both sides agreed to table discussions until after the season and that time is obviously now for the Clippers’ franchise.
Making a quick decision on Del Negro’s future would be prudent for the Clippers, as they could then choose his replacement from the widest pool of candidates before other teams settle on a new coach. No matter what, the Clippers will be attached to some notable available coaches the second Del Negro is dismissed if they choose to go that way.
With that, here are my top five reasons the Clippers should let Del Negro go sometime between now and the end of next month.
5. The Clippers are No Longer #2 in Los Angeles
After years of being one of the laughing stocks of the NBA, the Clippers have the star players (Blake Griffin, Chris Paul) to not be second fiddle to the Lakers in their own city any longer. Adding a big-name coach to fit the rising profile of the franchise could be very beneficial.
4. Del Negro's Playoff Record
In five seasons as an NBA head coach, including two with the Chicago Bulls, Del Negro has a 10-19 record in the postseason and three first-round playoff exits. If the Clippers want to take the next step and become a serious contender in the Western Conference, Del Negro may not be the right guy to lead them there.
3. Drawing Other Big-Name Players
Paul and Griffin are clearly the two faces of the Clippers’ franchise, but do other star players want to join them if Del Negro is the coach? That is a question Paul can perhaps help answer by giving his opinion to the front office.
2. The Stagnant Development of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan
Griffin and Jordan are the lead dogs for “Lob City”, but they haven't developed well-rounded offensive games. Del Negro may not be be entirely to blame for that, but perhaps a new voice would push the two young big men to reach the next level of stardom beyond SportsCenter highlights.
1. Chris Paul
Paul is slated to become a free agent and the Clippers’ front office will definitely solicit his opinion on Del Negro, if they haven’t already. The Clippers can offer Paul more money than any other team (five years, $107.3 million), but if he doesn’t want to play for Del Negro team executives will have to listen, or risk him landing elsewhere.