Not having a coach in place is rumored to have hurt the Clippers during the LeBron James interview process. The other five years brought their coach, who had one-on-one time with LeBron to talk tactics and how he fits in their system on the court.
The Clippers remain without a coach, although the decision was expected when they got back from the LeBron interview. But according to Kevin Arnovitz at TrueHoop, the decision has been put off again as Clipper management is divided.
They are down to former Clippers coach Dwane Casey and former Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro. Casey was considered the front-runner, he is a sharp tactician with a good eye for how to get the most out of the Clippers. But Del Negro blew the Clippers away during the interview process, with detailed plans for developing each player as well as what to do on the court.
As Arnovitz said, that was the exact script in Chicago two years ago.
The proceedings bear an eerie resemblance to what transpired in Chicago two years ago, when Casey and Del Negro were the two finalists for the Bulls’ vacancy. Casey came into the interview process with a lifetime of coaching experience, working with luminaries such as Pete Newell and serving on some of the most respected staffs in the league. By most accounts, he led Del Negro down the stretch — until the former Suns’ broadcaster and front-office executive captivated decision-makers in Chicago with his presence during the final stage of interviews.
For Casey, the process must be excruciating. He has been a finalist for a number of openings over the past few years and earns nearly unanimous praise around the league for both his manner and acumen. If not for a late intervention by one segment of Atlanta’s ownership, he’d likely be the head coach in Atlanta today. Three weeks later, he must continue a sales job with a Clippers organization increasingly intrigued with Del Negro.