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Vinny Del Negro on Thin Ice with Clippers

dfavale April 18, 2013 Dan Favale No Comments

Vinny Del Negro’s future with the Los Angeles Clippers may be in jeopardy, and I kid you not.

According to T.J. Simers of the The Los Angeles Times, Del Negro’s relationship with the organization has gone sour:

But now only the playoffs remain before Clippers’ management begins messing with success and chooses not to rehire Vinny Del Negro as coach.

Del Negro’s name should probably be mentioned in consideration for coach of the year honors. He hired, and in some cases negotiated the contracts, of almost everyone who is sitting on the Clippers’ potent bench.

And then he kept them happy all season long.

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.

Del Negro also isn’t as sold on keeping DeAndre Jordan as the front office is, and so there are grounds for continued conflict. If I knew the name of the team’s wallflower general manager, I would tell you.

Now, I rarely (if ever) agree with Mr. Simers, but he makes some nice points here. I’m not sure how much validity there is to this report, but Del Negro has been on the hot seat all season, or at least, that’s how it seems. And I can’t figure out why.

He’s coached the Clippers back to the playoffs for the second-straight season, and he’s done a nice job of managing some of the players’ minutes in my opinion. He’s also handled the many egos currently on Los Angeles’ bench rather well.

As for going over brass’ head about the whole Kevin Garnett trade fiasco, I’m not sure I blame him. Most of the time, that would appear to be going to far, but his DeAndre Jordan-motivated reserves aren’t unfounded. Jordan boasts an improved post game and is a shot-blocking fiend, but he’s a horrendous free-throw shooter. Late in games, especially in the playoffs, he poses a huge liability.

Let’s not forget that Del Negro may have been doing the team a favor as well. Chris Paul wanted Garnett in a Clippers uniform, and if Del Negro tried to make that happen, he was also attempting to appease Paul.

You know the Chris Paul I’m talking about, right? The one who’s an unrestricted free agent upon season’s end? Who holds the fate of Los Angeles’ immediate future in his hand? Who the team has spent the last two seasons attempting to please?

That Paul.

Can we really fault Del Negro for the Garnett accusations then, even if he did have mixed agendas? No. Or rather, we shouldn’t. But it seems the Clippers have.

Admittedly, if Los Angeles gets ousted in the first or second rounds of the postseason, the support for Del Negro won’t be as demonstrative as it should be. To me, it seems he’s even less likely to return if Paul decides to sign elsewhere.

But if the Clippers make a deep run, and if Paul agrees to sign a long-term deal this summer, severing ties with Del Negro makes little sense. Short of guaranteeing Phil Jackson had agreed to coach the team or Paul specifically requesting someone else, I don’t see how the team could justify it.

Depending upon what happens in the playoffs and with Paul, showing Del Negro the door just doesn’t seem right.

Or even smart.

Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.

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