The Clippers officially announced yesterday that they wouldn't be bringing back Vinny Del Negro to coach the team next season, and that the search for a new head coach will begin immediately. Considering the Clips are coming off a 56-win season and a division title, and expect to keep their core intact, barring a surprising Chris Paul decision, there will be no shortage of coaching candidates interested in the position. Here are the early rumblings on L.A.'s search:
- Nate McMillan is also among the candidates for the Clippers' head coaching opening, reports Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. According to Turner's source, McMillan is one of about five candidates being seriously considered by the Clippers.
- Del Negro and owner Donald Sterling never actually met in person last weekend, but had an extended phone conversation that a source described to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com as "positive."
- According to Shelburne's source, Sterling told Del Negro he was optimistic the team would bring him back, but that there "were some issues with the players" to sort through. "Obviously they couldn't work through those issues with the players, or, player," the source said, referring to Paul.
- After letting him go, the Clippers told Del Negro they'd do whatever they could to help him find another job, writes Shelburne.
- The Clippers intend to move quickly in their search, says Shelburne, identifying Brian Shaw, Byron Scott, Michael Malone, and Alvin Gentry as likely candidates.
- Although Gentry has worked for the Clippers in the past, he left on "great terms" and is still friendly with Sterling and Clips president Andy Roeser, tweets Shelburne.
- Phil Jackson won't be considered for the Clippers' position, according to Shelburne, who hears from a source that the team feels it would be "too creepy" to pursue a coach engaged to the owner of the Clippers' crosstown rival.
- While Paul is expected to have some sway in the Clippers' decision, Shelburne hears that he's currently more interested in watching how the team handles the situation rather than asserting his own opinions.
- Hall of Fame writer Mark Heisler tweets that Lionel Hollins sits atop the Clippers' wish list, though Sterling denied to T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times that he was in San Antonio on the weekend to scout the Grizzlies coach.