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.