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Chris Paul said to be ‘angry’ with Clippers over Vinny Del Negro reports

Chris Paul ClippersChris Paul is “angry” with the Los Angeles Clippers over the perception that he was responsible for the team getting rid of Vinny Del Negro as head coach, ESPN reports.

Del Negro was informed by the team last week that they would not retain him despite leading the team to a 56-26 season. Yahoo! Sports, CBS Sports, and the Los Angeles Times all indicated that Paul was dissatisfied with Del Negro and/or wanted a different coach. Team owner Donald Sterling even indicated to the LA Times’ T.J. Simers that Del Negro was let go to increase the team’s chances of retaining Paul, who will be a free agent.

The speculation that Del Negro was let go in order to increase the team’s chance at retaining Paul was prevalent last week after the Del Negro news was announced. The issue came back up this week when Del Negro conducted an interview with Dan Patrick and hinted CP3 had a role in his firing.

All the talk about him costing Del Negro the job supposedly has the all-star point guard upset.

“He’s angry right now and his anger is directed toward the Clippers organization,” a source told ESPN. “Chris is a man of principle and if he feels like you’ve gone against his principles, it will affect how he feels about you. He’s very agitated that his name has been put out there as the reason for Vinny’s firing. He had nothing to do with it.”

ESPN’s source said neither Paul nor Blake Griffin were involved in the decision to dismiss Del Negro. Moreover, the source said the front office decided to make the change on their own after having disagreements with the coach during the season. ESPN also says that Del Negro feels Paul got him fired.

Paul will be a free agent on July 1 and was long believed to be highly likely to re-sign with the Clippers. There is a possibility that this issue over the perception that he was responsible for Del Negro’s dismissal could cause him to sign with another team.

Vinny Del Negro hints Chris Paul’s free agency had role in him losing job

Vinny Del NegroVinny Del Negro was not brought back as head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers after three mostly successful seasons with the franchise. Multiple reports and the comments of team owner Donald Sterling have indicated the Clippers decided not to bring back Del Negro because they felt hiring a new coach would give them the best shot at retaining Chris Paul, who is a free agent.

During an interview on “The Dan Patrick Show” on Tuesday, Del Negro was asked point blank about how much of a role he thought CP3’s free agency played in the Clippers not bringing him back. Del Negro seemed to subtly admit Paul wanted a new coach while boasting about what the point guard accomplished under his watch.

“Well, Chris is a free agent. They were compelled to make a decision. He’s entitled to his opinion. But he made first-team All-NBA both seasons on defense and on offense, and I believe that’s the first time he’s done that in his career. We set every franchise record. In saying that, he’s a free agent and he’s going to have a lot of say so on a lot of things as he did the previous summer when we put the team together,” said Del Negro.

Patrick turned it up a notch and asked Del Negro about CP3 more directly.

“Do you think Chris Paul did not want you back?” he asked.

“Oh I don’t know. I don’t think I need to get into that. It’s behind me,” Del negro answered.

Del Negro then complimented the job he and his staff did with the team.

“They’re positioned for success in the future. There’s no question you have to have a long-term view. They were compelled to make a decision that they felt was in the best interest of their team. However it went down it doesn’t matter.

“Obviously the Clippers’ history is the Clippers’ history, but I’m proud of what we did there the last few seasons. They’re positioned to be successful for a long time now, which I’m proud of. I give my staff and all my assistant coaches a tremendous amount of credit.”

It seems to me that Del Negro acknowledged the situation without directly admitting Paul was behind the firing. I agree with the team’s decision not to bring him back, but how can you not at least feel a little betrayed to hear that your star player preferred to have a new coach?

Vinny Del Negro won’t be back with Clippers

Vinny Del NegroVinny Del Negro will not be back with the Los Angeles Clippers next season. His contract was up and the team decided not to bring him back.

Del Negro coached the team the last three seasons. They went 32-50 in his first season, 40-26 in his second season, and 56-26 this season.

The Clippers beat the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA playoffs last year, but they lost to them in the first round this year.

Despite having success last season, there were questions about his job security going back to last year.

Del Negro has long been considered the weak link on a team with a talented roster. His substitution patterns are questionable, as was the way he managed some of his key reserve players in the playoffs this year. Moves such as having top bench player Jamal Crawford only play 12 minutes in a season-ending Game 6 loss to the Grizzlies were inexplicable and, when asked about the decision, Del Negro had little explanation. At various points throughout the season, the players seemed to express frustration with him as coach.

The firing of Del Negro should also give the Clippers a much better shot at retaining Chris Paul in free agency.

Blake Griffin critical of Vinny Del Negro after Clippers loss to the Hornets

After starting out the year with an 8-2 record, the Los Angeles Clippers have officially hit their first skid of the 2012-2013 season. Their loss to the New Orleans Hornets on Monday night was their fourth straight, and some slight finger-pointing is already underway. Blake Griffin seemed to pin the blame on head coach Vinny Del Negro, while Del Negro thought Griffin and company were at fault.

According to the L.A. Daily News, Griffin felt as though the Clippers should have stuck with their game plan down the stretch against New Orleans instead of making too many adjustments.

“I think we tried to change some things, tried to change our schemes and some things we have been successful at and that hurt us,” he said. “I think we should play teams how we play every team. We made adjustments down the stretch when certain guys hurt us and I think we should have stuck with what we had been doing and what has made us successful.”

Del Negro, on the other hand, said he went with a small lineup because DeAndre Jordan and the rest of his big men were not getting it done. Griffin, who scored a season-low 4 points on 1-for-9 shooting, is one of those big bodies.

“(Jordan) wasn’t involved,” Del Negro said. “It wasn’t just ‘D.J.’ It was all of our big guys. They weren’t active. They weren’t physical. They didn’t set the tone for us from the start. It’s not just one guy. It’s everybody.”

Hopefully a home game against the 6-7 Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night can get L.A. back on track. We wouldn’t want a divide between head coach and his superstars this early in the year.

H/T SLAM Online

Vinny Del Negro’s job reportedly in jeopardy

Vinny Del Negro has been considered a weak link on the Clippers almost from the time he was hired. When the team added several players in the offseason, people questioned if Del Negro was the right guy to lead the team. Now that the Clippers are slipping (7-11 in their last 18) , Del Negro’s job reportedly is on the line.

ESPN’s Bill Simmons put Del Negro’s status in perspective Wednesday:

ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported Thursday that Del Negro has “lost the team,” according to a source. Players reportedly are unhappy with the uncertainty of the rotation. They also reportedly feel Del Negro favors stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.

We’ve felt for a while that the Clippers needed a new coach. Now that Mike D’Antoni and Nate McMillan have lost their jobs, we know the Clippers could do better. Plus, it should be noted that this article could be Del Negro’s death sentence. As soon as similar reports about D’Antoni and McMillan were published, they were gone within days.

H/T I am a GM

Vinny Del Negro Says Chris Paul Will ‘Lose a Few Pounds’ With Clippers

With all the back-and-forth that has taken place regarding Chris Paul this offseason, it would not be surprising for the Clippers’ new superstar to be a bit out of shape.  If CP3 has not been as focused as he should be over the past few weeks, who can blame him?  One minute he’s being traded to the Lakersm and the next he’s staying put.  Fear not, Clippers fans: Sergeant Del Negro is going to whip his new superstar point guard right into shape.

“He’s gonna lose a few pounds, he’s gonna feel a little bit better,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said when asked about Paul after this weekend’s scrimmage. “Right now, when you come in, the play-sets are a little bit different, the terminology’s a little bit different. It’s easier, because he’s been around and he knows a lot of this stuff. In this game, if you’re a step slow, you’re in trouble. Every day, he’ll get a little bit more comfortable.”

I respect that Del Negro is trying to talk about Paul like he’s just one of the guys, but I can’t help but feel like he’s trying to show who’s boss.  The people of Los Angeles are hoping CP3 can rescue the Clippers, not vice versa.  Considering he is one of the best point guards in the game, the system will be adapting to Paul.  If he doesn’t fit in fairly quickly, Del Negro will be without a job.

In other words, nice try.  Paul may lose a few pounds if he is still getting into shape but the play-sets and terminology will wind up being whatever he’s comfortable with.

Chest bump to Pro Basketball Talk for passing along the story.

About Time Del Negro Got the Ax

On Monday, word leaked out that Chicago Bulls head coach Vinny Del Negro would be fired. Believe me, this is not shocking to Bulls fans. They have been on “Vinny Watch” counting down the seconds until the time they could finally say good riddance to him.

Will firing Vinny be good for the Bulls? Amazingly, they made the playoffs the two years that he coached them, even though they probably shouldn’t have. And his players believe that they have become better under his coaching. Joakim Noah is one of the players who feels he benefited from Del Negro’s coaching:

It’s always a tough decision when someone gets fired. I learned a lot from him and I got two great playoff appearances with him. Coaching the Bulls is a tough job; there are a lot of demands and expectations. I wish him the best. He’s a good guy. With the way he developed the players here I’m sure he won’t have too hard of a time finding another coaching job.”

So, was Vinny as terrible as a coach as everyone said he was? Or was it just a matter of not having the key pieces on his roster to be successful? Earlier in the season, the Bulls cleared some room on their payroll to make room for a superstar. Obviously, the Bulls would love to have LeBron James or Dwyane Wade make the move to Chicago, but it’s unlikely that will happen. Now that the fans have gotten their way and Del Negro is out the door, it’s up to VP John Paxson to prove that he can actually do something other than select a consensus number one guy in the draft like Derrick Rose. If not, I think we will be seeing some more people packing their bags in the Bulls’ front office next year.

Sources:
Coach Del Negro fired from Bulls [ESPN Chicago]