Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 at 11:15 am  |  63 responses

LA Clippers Got Rid of Vinny Del Negro to Keep Chris Paul Happy

by Marcel Mutoni @ marcel_mutoni

The LA Clippers’ decision not to retain Vinny Del Negro had a lot more to do with keeping superstar players happy, than it did with his ability as a head coach.

The franchise seemed happy enough with the job he did through three seasons (going 128-102), but without Chris Paul’s support, VDN never stood a chance.

Clippers owner Donald Sterling didn’t deny that Del Negro was shown the door in an effort to re-sign CP3 through free agency this summer.

Per the LA Times:

“The coach is a wonderful man, and I’m sad about the whole thing,” Sterling said. “Was this done,” I asked, “just to hang on to Chris Paul?” … “I always want to be honest and not say anything that is not true,” Sterling said. “So I’d rather not say anything. But you know, the coach did a really good job. I think he did. And I liked working with him. There are just factors that make life very complicated and very challenging.”

So the Clippers are trying to hang on to Paul. But don’t they already have him locked up? The team has done everything to make him comfortable, even hire his favorite PR guy from New Orleans. Do the Clippers really think he would accept almost $28 million less to sign elsewhere? [...] “So I wonder, is this decision being made because the players are now calling the shots? Am I off base?” … “No, you’re not off base,” Sterling said. “This is a players’ league, and, unfortunately, if you want to win you have to make the players happy. Don’t you think that’s true?”

Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are said to have liked Vinny Del Negro just fine, but had serious doubts about him being the man to lead them to the promised land. Both superstars will be consulted during the Clippers’ search for a new head coach.

As Donald Sterling admitted, for better or worse, this is very much a players’ league.

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  • shockexchange

    There yellow top, WMD and that molly. Chris Paul on somein’ else though – he smokin’ that “Jason Kidd.”

  • https://twitter.com/jasontichenor Mr. Wet

    We could use another Nick Cage “you don’t say” meme for the title of this article.

  • Mike Mihalow

    Thanks for confirming what we already knew.

  • Sin City

    The crazy thing is Vinny Del Negro completely catered to CP3, which the other players hated. What did the head coach get in return? Fired to make sure CP3 stays. Welcome to the world of a franchise player.

  • robb

    They are using CP3 as an excuse, everybody knows Vinny’s not a good coach. They were gonna fire him anyway.

  • Yul B. Moore

    Sterling told the truth. It is a players league. However, you got to draw the line when it comes to Players dictating who the coach will be. What quality coach is going to come coach the Clippers after this crap. Del Negro should have been allowed to grow into his job as coach. You sometimes have to have adversity to grow and become a champion. what the Clips need is for Blake to improve is game, and get a legit Center.

  • danpowers

    chris paul, 99,9% of their fans and basketball observers who would love to see that team without an incompetent coach keeping them from doing what they are capable of.

  • http://twitter.com/RyanDeahn RyanDeahn

    Good to see that the owners and mgmt. don’t have all the leverage.

  • Lloyd

    Enter Lord Byron.


    you’ve got a nice point.

  • http://www.facebook.com/starkpwnsyou Joshua Maria Peter Bautista

    I smell a Jerry Sloan headline soon.

  • bike

    Vinny is thus left wondering if that time in the locker room he rubbed Paul’s head and told him ‘ya done real good li’l buddy’ was such a good idea after all.

  • danpowers

    van gundy would be nice too

  • spit hot fiyah

    or mcmillan

  • theDankerNuggets

    wow if I were Paul I’d leave because of Sterling, “This is a players’ league, and, unfortunately, if you want to win you have to make the players happy.” Sounds like making players happy pains ol’Donald

  • RipCity

    He is the worst coach in the league, Sterling is just sad he will have to pay real $$$ fora coach now.

  • RipCity

    he had three more years than he deserved. Look how much better the bulls got when they fired VDN and hired Thibs. With very little roster change he completely changed that team.

  • danpowers

    or jax but im afraid sterling is too cheap to do that

  • TBRK

    indeed, with speed

  • Sean

    Del Negro has been the worst coach in the league since he started coaching the Bulls…the guy is completely and utterly inept. He can’t draw up a play to save his life.

  • http://www.facebook.com/braxton.hartnabrig.1 Braxton P Hartnabrig

    Just give CP3 the clipboard.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    And it also helped that Thibs had Rose and Vinny didn’t.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    how did he cater to Chris Paul? by letting Chris Paul make coaching decisions? I don’t think Paul wanted to do that. EVERYONE hated it. Not just the other players. Everyone. Paul & The Assistant Coaches included.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    nah, he’s jumbling up what VDN was doing and acting like it’s acceptable for a coach to pass off his own duties to one of his players.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    I would bet it will end up being one of the following,

    - Mike Malone
    - Byron Scott
    - Nate McMillan
    - Alvin Gentry
    - Brian Shaw

  • Shock exchan3

    Dang trapaholics mix tape pyscho redd ya already naw

  • Alf

    Hmm…Phil Jackson anyone?

  • RipCity

    He coached Rose for two years

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    Ahh realized that after I typed it lol

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    If I were Chris Paul, Sterling’s comments would make me go elsewhere. Donald Sterling tried to pretend that he had to throw his best player under the bus because he doesn’t believe in lying?
    Donald Sterling who hires prostitutes?
    Donald Sterling who was sued by the federal government and denied it?
    Donald Sterling who tried to ignore the language contained in contracts he signed? That Donald Sterling just had to tell the truth?
    Does he think people are stupid?

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    Exactly. Playing for Sterling is a mistake. Period.

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    yeah, that was a pretty big oops homie.

  • RipCity

    haha its all good we all have those days

  • bike

    Don’t forget possibly the most corrupt, discriminatory, fraudulent landlords on the planet.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk


  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    that’s the federal lawsuit I was talking about after the prostitutes.

  • Fitzy

    Vinny Del Negro wasn’t taking this team anywhere else. He’s the guy that gets fired gets rehired to a lottery team that stumbles upon luck and gradually gets better then peaks. Donald Sterling’s also an idiot and arguably the worst owner in the league. I hope CP3 keeps that in mind. It’s only a players league until they’ve put their name to a contract then the team owns you.

  • http://twitter.com/TheresaLouis1 Theresa Louis

    my b℮st frі℮nd’s m○tհ℮r-іn-lаw mаk℮s  $75 ℮v℮ry հ○ur ○n tհ℮ с○mput℮r.  Sհ℮ հаs b℮℮n wіtհ○ut w○rk   f○r 6 m○ntհs but lаst m○ntհ   հ℮r pаyсհ℮сk wаs  $13122 just w○rkіng ○n tհ℮ с○mput℮r f○r а f℮w հ○urs. G○ t○  tհіs w℮b sіt℮ аnd r℮аd m○r℮, ..Fox83.com

  • Datkid

    Isn’t Donald Sterling also a huge racist?

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    Finals week homie gotta forgive me haha

  • Mars

    So…my question is who, if anyone, is going to lead them to the promised land? In my opinion, I think Vinny gave CP3 absolute control since he pretty much was an assistant coach on and off the court. I have to agree that Sterling threw CP3 under the bus.

  • Anomaly37

    Dream on.

  • TV63

    WORST coach in the league?? You’ve got to be delusional! You’re too spoiled. This dude brings Clippers from the abyss and has the best winning record in franchise history and he is rewarded by firing. WOW How completely stupid if you think Clippers will get a better coach. Have fun in the downspiral back into the abyss. Save you some crying towels.

  • TV63

    Yeah He’s awful to have accomplished winning the most games in franchise history. Throw him in the trash. That’s intelligent.

  • TV63

    HA Hope you get Scott!! Lol Del negro accomplishes getting the most wins in franchise history and he gets canned over someone like Scott with worst losing record in franchise history. Clippers too spoiled and get what they deserve,

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Vinny was awful. They won’t be getting any worse in the coaching department

  • tnrc75

    Good. The players should have a coach who have some kind of understanding of how they should be used.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shooting.guard.319 Shooting Guard

    Sad. They’re done

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II


  • http://www.facebook.com/starkpwnsyou Joshua Maria Peter Bautista

    Hey, I need your opinion: is Mo Cheeks good for a head coaching job?

  • http://www.facebook.com/starkpwnsyou Joshua Maria Peter Bautista

    Which one?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    he’s not bad per say. but i wouldn’t prefer him, he’s a little too passive with his players. He makes a great assistant, like top 5 in the league. As a coach, he’s decent. But not one of the better guys without a head coaching job.

  • http://www.facebook.com/starkpwnsyou Joshua Maria Peter Bautista

    There are a lot of vacancies right now, and even more candidates. Who fits where?

    Milwaukee, Atlanta, Charlotte, Phoenix, Sacramento, Cleveland, Detroit, Clippers, Minny if Adelman retires, Philly, Portland, Washington and Toronto need makeovers in coaching.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    - Milwaukee – i have no opinion on until i see what they do with Jennings/Ellis. But Brian Shaw is probably a good place to start with Ilyasova and Sanders out there. Not anything I would address until i know my perimeter players tho.

    - Atlanta – Alvin Gentry would fit there wonderfully. A defensive coach with the ability to teach a hybrid system.

    - Charlotte – Here is where I’d go with Mo Cheeks if I had to put him somewhere. Kind of a stop gap coach who can teach Kemba how to find his way. This would be a short coaching stint for whoever got the job. Until they were actually ready to contend.

    - Phoenix – Dan Majerle should be the next coach of the Suns. But he is coaching Grand Canyon University because Lance Blanks is a flaming moron. It doesn’t matter who they hire, he’ll be there 2 years tops.

    - Sacramento is where I want Mike Malone. See what he can do with all that talent. He’s an offensive genius, supposedly.

    - Cleveland – Honestly I would try and hire Stan Van Gundy even though I know he’d turn it down. Other than that, Byron Scott shouldn’t have been fired.

    - Clippers – Also a place i’d like to see Stan Van Gundy. If not him, Mike Malone is another good choice. He’s also who i expect to get the job if CP3 is staying.

    - Minny should do what they can to keep Adelman. If not, they need to go after Mike Malone very hard. Very Very hard.

  • danpowers


  • RipCity

    yea he brought them back from the abyss… come on pass the pipe your turn is up bro

  • RipCity

    it doesn’t take much to get the most wins in CLIPPERS franchise history

  • http://www.facebook.com/starkpwnsyou Joshua Maria Peter Bautista

    I can tell that you’re lobbying for Mike Malone to have his first head coaching gig. I haven’t heard much about him, I guess its time to research. By the way, do you see Mike Dunlap in a comeback? That guy has potential, same with Kaleb Canales. I really dislike Mike Brown though, even if he learned from the best.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Malone is the architect of Golden State’s offense. He was also the lead assistant on Chris Paul’s playoff bound Hornets teams. He’s got clout, probably the top name on the market without actual head coaching experience right now.
    I just don’t know enough about Dunlap to have an opinion. He’s an offensive guy, but I really don’t know how he commands players.

    Well since I typed that first comment, Jeff Hornacek has leap frogged into the favorite to be the new coach of Phoenix.

  • http://www.facebook.com/starkpwnsyou Joshua Maria Peter Bautista

    The Warriors offense remind me a lot of those Steve Nash Suns teams, just with better defense. I suppose Malone going to Sacramento would mean that he would have to develop a new system that fits Cousins, Evans, Jimmer, Isaiah and whoever they pick this year. (I personally suggest the Triangle)

    Dunlap is a lot like Vogel based on what I’ve gathered(which is pretty few btw), and he apparently plays players to their strengths without trying to eliminate their weaknesses much. He’s okai for a veteran-laden team full of players who know who they are and what they cant do, at least that’s what I think.

    Wow Jeff Hornacek. Why not go for gold and hire John Stockton instead? Its a pretty safe gamble since the Suns aren’t going anywhere for several seasons.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Jeff Hornacek is doing great things in Utah. Their upper management is actually in a little bit of a panic mode because they are going to lose him…
    Malone was in New Orleans, that offense was drastically different. I expect him to employ some form of a motion offense with Sacramento. Trying to keep Cousins and Evans on the move, rather than relying on them to play one on one.
    The triangle is not something any coach can just teach. infact, it’s pretty much dead as we know it, unless Brian Shaw uses it wherever he goes. Tex Winter was the key to that offense. Phil knows it, but not like Tex. I think we will see a new version of it if anything.

  • frankelee

    Clippers’ management actually had to get Chris Paul to tell them to fire the worst coach in the league? That’s not hyperbole by the way, he is literally the least capable man currently coaching in the NBA.

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