Western Rumors: Paul, Howard, Gordon, Hollins

We received word earlier this afternoon that head coach Vinny Del Negro will not be retained by the Clippers, and Ken Berger of CBSSports.com says (via Twitter) that one of the primary reasons for the decision was the fact that Chris Paul wasn't a fan of Del Negro. According to Berger (via Twitter), the star point guard didn't back the coach to management at season's end.

Here are a few more afternoon rumblings out of the Western Conference:

  • Another Los Angeles free-agent-to-be, Dwight Howard, apparently isn't a fan of his head coach either — Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports that Howard voiced some displeasure and frustration with Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni in a meeting with GM Mitch Kupchak at season's end. However, McMenamin notes that the relationship between D12 and D'Antoni isn't irreparable, and former Howard coach Stan Van Gundy told David Baumann of Sports Talk Florida (Twitter link) today that he wasn't giving much credence to the story.
  • A source tells Jimmy Smith of the New Orleans Times-Picayune (Twitter link) that there's "no merit" to trade rumors involving Eric Gordon.
  • No teams have contacted the Grizzlies to ask permission to speak to head coach Lionel Hollins yet, tweets Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal.
  • According to Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game (Sulia link), the fact that the Sacramento arena plan involves a significant public subsidy wasn't insignificant when the league voted on the Kings' relocation bid.

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