Clippers Players Say They’re ‘Still Behind’ Coach Vinny Del Negro

by March 23, 2012

by Marcel Mutoni @marcel_mutoni

Things have gone from bad to worse in Clipper-Land of late, with the team having lost 12 of their last 19 (including an ugly 6-10 mark since the All-Star break), and now there’s growing chatter that head coach Vinny Del Negro’s job is in trouble.

This is what happens in the NBA whenever a team starts to lose in discouraging fashion — especially a high-profile one. Just ask Mike D’Antoni.

For what it’s worth, some of Del Negro’s players came to his defense last night, following a terrible loss to the New Orleans Hornets.

From the LA Times:

On the night the locals came to show respect for what Chris Paul has done for the Hornets and the city of New Orleans, the Clippers spent much of their energy trying to dispel rumors that there is tension inside the locker room because Coach Vinny Del Negro has lost the team. After a humiliating 97-90 loss to the Hornets on Thursday night, the players all claimed they supported Del Negro despite the team’s losing all three games on this back-to-back-to-back trip that has produced more questions than answers. “We’re still behind him,” Blake Griffin said.

“Coaches come and go in this league,” Kenyon Martin said. “We all know players make this league. But until we go out and play, we can’t always point the finger at the coach. That ain’t always the issue.” Del Negro acknowledged that he’s as frustrated as the players. He said he’s not putting “credence” into “sources” who have his job on the line or say the players aren’t following him anymore.

In addition to the perceived locker room issues, Vinny Del Negro’s play-calling, game management and the use of the considerable talent on his roster are coming under increased scrutiny.

The LA Clippers have slid into the sixth seed in the Western Conference, and whether or not they make the Playoffs is up in the air at the moment.

Until they find a way to turn this thing around, and soon, Vinny Del Negro’s seat will only get hotter.