Vinny Del Negro Rumors
May 17 at 1:47pm CST By Luke Adams
Clippers owner Donald Sterling will meet with incumbent head coach Vinny Del Negro this weekend to discuss the coach's fate with the organization, reports Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. According to Haynes, a decision is anticipated shortly after the meeting.
Del Negro's Clippers went up 2-0 in the first round of the Western Conference Quarterfinals before being defeated four straight times by the Grizzlies, who eliminated L.A. from the playoffs. The disappointing end to the season, along with Chris Paul's impending free agency, led many observers to conclude that a new hire was coming. As recently as ten days ago, ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported that Del Negro's dismissal appeared "inevitable" and named a few potential candidates for the position.
However, a report earlier this week from Stein and Ramona Shelburne indicated that there's still a "level of interest within the organization" in giving Del Negro an extension. Sterling is believed to be one of Del Negro's biggest supporters, perhaps in part due to his inexpensive price tag. But reports have suggested that the decision will be an organizational one, with Paul and Blake Griffin receiving some input as well.
May 16 at 10:58am CST By Luke Adams
10:58am: Although the decision on Del Negro will be an organizational one, Paul and Blake Griffin will be consulted, a source tells Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com, who stresses that the decision won't be made "blindly" (Twitter link).
8:16am: While it has been widely assumed that the Clippers will seek a new head coach following their first-round exit, the team hasn't ruled out the possibiity of bringing back Vinny Del Negro, according to Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The ESPN duo reports that there's a "level of interest within the organization" in giving Del Negro a contract extension rather than pursuing a replacement.
The final call on Del Negro's future will be made by owner Donald Sterling, who is considered the coach's biggest supporter in the organization, according to Stein and Shelburne. For now, team officials continue the weigh their options, with no decision reached yet. Del Negro, for his part, has reportedly drawn interest from one other team for a head coaching opening, but has only explored a return to the Clippers so far.
According to ESPN.com, resolution on Del Negro's future was expected to happen within a week of the Clippers' elimination, but it has dragged beyond that because Sterling likes to take his time with major decisions. Stein and Shelburne hear from sources that the longer it takes the club to announce a decision, the likelier it is that Del Negro will be back.
The Clippers' decision on Del Negro is a significant one, since it could have an effect on another decision this summer: Chris Paul's free agency. As Stein and Shelburne note, in recent years, Sterling has leaned toward hiring coaches and front office execs willing to sign short-term, inexpensive contracts, but I wonder if continuing along that path would be sending the wrong signals to CP3.
May 7 at 7:22pm CST By Alex Lee
We saw earlier today that J.B. Bickerstaff was on the Pistons' radar. On Wednesday, the Rockets assistant will interview for the team's head coaching vacancy, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, adding that Bickerstaff's stock as a head coaching candidate has risen rapidly of late in the eyes of NBA execs. Phil Jackson, who is serving as a consultant in the Pistons coaching search, quietly flew into Detroit on Monday and was scheduled to meet with team president Joe Dumars on Tuesday, reports Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News. Here are some other news and notes from around the Association:
- We now know that Jackson will not be the Nets next head coach. While Marc Stein wrote that Mike Dunleavy Sr. is not being considered by Brooklyn, it is worth noting that Stefan Bondy and Frank Isola of the New York Daily News have reported that Dunleavy has emerged as a "real dark horse" in a coaching search that involves higher profile names. Dunleavy grew up in Brooklyn.
- Vinny Del Negro is expected to meet with Clippers owner Donald Sterling soon about his uncertain future as the team's head coach, reports Ken Berger of CBS Sports. All signs point toward Del Negro being dismissed despite an excellent relationship with Sterling. Berger reports that while Chris Paul is expected to have a say in who replaces Del Negro, his influence may be weaker than most think.
- Former coach and current NBA analyst Hubie Brown gave his thoughts on the Bobcats' coaching vacancy on Tuesday, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. Brown's advice; match your coaching targets with your players strengths. From Brown, "Too many times a coach's style doesn't match the players already under contracts, particularly the top three players. The style of play is critical in relation to the players on the roster. If it doesn't match you're just wasting time."
- Brown went on to address the coaching-search misconception that all assistants have close to equal experience, using Tom Thibodeau as a prime example. "The backgrounds of various assistants are totally different," Brown said.
May 7 at 11:50am CST By Luke Adams
The latest piece from Marc Stein at ESPN.com includes word that Dwight Howard remains more likely than Chris Paul to leave Los Angeles this summer. One source predicted to Stein that there's "zero chance" Paul signs with any team besides the Clippers. However, while Paul looks like a strong bet to return to L.A., the same can't be said for his head coach. Here are the latest rumblings on Vinny Del Negro and the rest of the NBA's coaching carousel:
- Stein refers to Del Negro's dismissal as seemingly "inevitable" and suggests that the Clippers want to go "big" with their next hire. Stan Van Gundy is one name likely to surface, according to Stein.
- If Del Negro is let go, Michael Malone, Alvin Gentry, and Byron Scott also figure to be a few top candidates for the position, according to Mark Heisler of HoopsHype.com. Stein endorses that list of contenders, particularly if the team's interest in Van Gundy doesn't go anywhere.
- Kelvin Sampson is the Rockets assistant frequently mentioned as a head coach candidate, but J.B. Bickerstaff is also on the Pistons' list, says Stein.
- Sampson and Mike Dunleavy aren't currently being considered for the Nets' opening, reports Stein.
- Assuming Larry Drew is done in Atlanta, Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer and former Lakers assistant Quin Snyder are expected to be among the Hawks' targets, says Stein.
- Coaching candidate Brian Shaw has yet to be contacted about job openings, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com (via Twitter). I'd assume the Pacers will give Shaw permission to interview for coaching jobs once Indiana is out of the playoffs.
- Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com surveyed leagues execs, players, and team personnel on who would make a good first-time NBA coach, and Heat assistant David Fizdale, Grizzlies assistant David Joerger, and Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg were among the top selections.
May 6 at 5:46pm CST By Zach Links
Here's the latest news on coaching and GM vacancies courtesy of CBSSports.com's Ken Berger..
- It's too early to identify a front-runner in the Sixers search, but things sound promising for Warriors assistant Mike Malone. Philly execs have contacted the Warriors multiple times about Malone, including several conversations with consultant Jerry West. In fact, the Sixers are consulting players who've played under both Malone and Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer to get a feel for how the two candidates differ, according to one source.
- To the surprise of some rival executives, the Sixers' coaching search is being led by GM Tony DiLeo, whose contract expires this summer. With team president Rod Thorn moving into a smaller role and DiLeo's contract expiring, rival execs expect the Sixers seek out a new decision maker as well. In fact, that process has already begun through back-channel conversations, one person contacted on the Sixers' behalf told Berger.
- Nets star Deron Williams has been vocal in his support of Jerry Sloan for the job but also has a strong relationship with Jeff Hornacek. In addition to the Sixers, the former Jazz sharpshooter has attracted interest from the Bobcats, Suns, and Bucks, sources told Berger.
- The Suns are in the advanced stages of their GM search and the latest word is that Celtics assistant GM Ryan McDonough's is gaining momentum. Bucks assistant GM Jeff Weltman has been viewed as the favorite in some circles, however, and the Suns also have interviewed Spurs exec (and former Knicks GM) Scott Layden.
- The Clippers are expected to can Vinny Del Negro and Hawks are expected to let Larry Drew go, league sources said. The Clippers are said to be "exploring all options," while the Hawks' decision on Drew's future is expected "sooner than later," sources said. It is widely believed that GM Danny Ferry prefers to install his own head coach in Atlanta.
May 5 at 6:34pm CST By Zach Links
With the two Los Angeles teams bounced from the first round of the playoffs, the Pacific has one lone representative left in the Warriors. While Golden State figures out how to handle the Spurs, let's take a look at the rest of the division..
- Suns team president Lon Babby now has to hire a GM and a coach for his club after parting ways with GM Lance Blanks. It remains to be seen what they'll do in the front office but according to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, former Sun "Thunder" Dan Majerle is interested in the coaching job as well as ex-Suns assistant Elston Turner, who is interviewing for the Bobcats opening.
- The Clippers may take more time in deciding Vinny Del Negro's future, but will "explore all options," a source tells Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
- Chris Paul's uncertain future is leaving things murky for the Clippers franchise, writes Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News. As he approaches his 28th birthday, Paul has more to think about than ever in the wake of his club's first round ouster from the playoffs.
May 4 at 8:47am CST By Zach Links
The Clippers' season ended last night with the Grizzlies' 118-105 victory and many have wondered if that would also spell the end for coach Vinny Del Negro's time in L.A. However, team sources insist that no decision has been made yet and that the club's early playoff exit won't be the only basis upon which he is judged, writes Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
While the first-round exit is obviously disappointing, Del Negro steered the team to a franchise-record 56 wins this season and has always had a good relationship with the team's ownership. The team is expected to take "about a week" to evaluate things before making a decision on Del Negro, according to one source.
The coach might not be in limbo right now had things gone differently last summer. According to a source, the Clippers had preliminary discussions with Del Negro about a contract extension, but tabled them indefinitely, putting him in a make-good situation.
Some have speculated that Phil Jackson could be a fit for the Clippers if they wind up searching for a new coach, but that's unlikely, according to one source with knowledge of the team's thinking. Because of the Zen Master's relationship with Lakers executive Jeanie Buss, "it would just be too creepy," says one source.
Of course, much of what happens with the Clippers this offseason hinges on whether Chris Paul stays or goes. While one source said the franchise is "as confident as we can be under the circumstances," it's still going to be a nailbiter for the club.
April 22 at 11:08pm CST By Chuck Myron
Many believe there's virtually no chance the Jazz will re-sign both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap this summer, and Millsap admits the uncertainty of impending free agency crept into his mind during the season, as Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News writes. "That’s me being honest," Millsap said. "It’s a tough thing to try to put it in the back of your head and not think about it. For the most part, I felt like we did a good job of handling it and the coaches did too." Free agents in the playoffs face even more pressure as they chase a title and their next contract at the same time, and as we watch to see who can take that kind of heat, here's the latest from around the Association:
- Clippers vice president of basketball operations Gary Sacks expressed his support for Vinny Del Negro to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, in response to rumors that the team may not retain the coach. Del Negro is in the final year of his contract, and though he and the Clippers have spoken about an extension, both sides have tabled those talks until after the season.
- Mike Dunleavy Sr. wants to coach again, and he's told agent Warren LeGarie to investigate the opportunities, reports Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida. Dunleavy said he'd limit his search to teams that have the "resources" available to win.
- Rival executives have suggested to Chris Mannix of SI.com that Grant Hill could be a fit for the general manager opening in Phoenix. Hill is likely to retire at the end of the season, and he's a favorite of Suns owner Robert Sarver, who employed him as a player for five seasons. Lon Babby, the team's president of basketball operations, is a former agent who used to represent Hill (Twitter link).
- SB Nation's Tom Ziller ponders what might have been if James Harden were still with the Thunder, pointing to numbers that suggest they'd be among the greatest offensive teams of all time.
- Former Illinois shooting guard Brandon Paul has chosen agent Jim Tanner of Williams & Connolly, tweets Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal. Paul checks in 57th with Jonathan Givony's ratings for DraftExpress, but Chad Ford of ESPN.com has him 96th.
April 6 at 12:26pm CST By Zach Links
In his Weekend Dime column, ESPN.com's Marc Stein takes us on a ride around the NBA coaching carousel. You must be this tall to check out the highlights..
- According to sources, Stan Van Gundy's availability already has the Clippers highly intrigued. That doesn't bode well for coach Vinny Del Negro, who might not even be able to save his job with a deep playoff run.
- No team in coaching circles is rated as more likely to make a change than the Pistons. Sources consistently say that Lawrence Frank is going to be ousted when the season is over based on the lack of responsiveness from his players. It would be a big surprise at this stage if the Pistons aren't soon in the market for a coach and they make target a former player.
- One coaching source says that it is "very likely" that Lionel Hollins will get a new deal from the Grizzlies after the playoffs. Word is that they'll still probably keep him in the event of a first round exit.
- More than one source says that Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap is a coach in potential jeopardy, which undoubtedly stems from Michael Jordan's recent promise to season-ticket holders that major offseason changes are on the way. Stein doesn't think that the criticism for Dunlap is fair considering the group that he has to work with.
- Sources continue to link Kelvin Sampson to the Bucks' opening, but interim coach Jim Boylan could get the full-time gig still.
- One source with knowledge of the Suns said this week that Lindsey Hunter has a "good shot" to become the permanent head coach at season's end.
- Byron Scott is believed to have the support of the front office, but there is a growing sense in Cleveland that owner Dan Gilbert will make a change regardless. The coach had had to deal with the absences of Kyrie Irving, Anderson Varejao, and Dion Waiters throughout the year.
- Wizards coach Randy Wittman appears to be safe and he should have less to worry about that the aforementioned coaches on the hot seat.
April 4 at 3:44pm CST By Luke Adams
Earlier today, the Clippers signed DaJuan Summers for the season, and we passed along word that Grant Hill is likely to retire at season's end. Here are a few more Thursday items from out of the Pacific Division:
- Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (Insider-only link) expects Dwight Howard to re-sign with the Lakers, but notes that there are other potentially attractive destinations in play. Broussard breaks down the pros and cons of three likely Howard suitors, the Hawks, Rockets, and Mavericks.
- Metta World Peace's rehab from knee surgery is off to a good start, though his future is still uncertain, writes Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
- As Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld explains, when the NBA Board of Governors votes on the future of the Kings, the decision won't necessarily come down to Seattle vs. Sacramento, since the Board can't force the Maloofs to sell to the Sacramento group. The Board of Governors will simply be voting on whether or not to approve the sale to the Seattle group, so if the sale is to be declined, there will need to be real cause.
- In his latest column for the Los Angeles Times, T.J. Simers argues that the immaturity of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan is dragging the Clippers down, and says Jordan "blames [head coach Vinny] Del Negro for burying him on the bench."