It’s expected that Vinny Del Negro’s days are numbered as the coach of the Clippers. After a first-round playoff exit it’s a matter of when the axe falls not if.
The “when” may well be when Del Negro meets with Clippers owner Donald Sterling next week, reports Ken Berger at CBSSports.com.
Vinny Del Negro is expected to meet with Donald Sterling in the coming days to discuss his precarious future as the Clippers’ coach, league sources told CBSSports.com on Tuesday.
Del Negro, whose contract expires at the end of June, could meet with the Clippers’ owner next Monday or Tuesday, though the meeting hasn’t been set yet, sources said.
While the Clippers had a regular-season best 56 wins and first ever division title, they were ousted in the first round by the Memphis Grizzlies in what was a disappointing exit for the team.
More than that, on the court there were questions about Del Negro’s simple offensive sets, inability to develop DeAndre Jordan, inconsistent defense (although they were a top 10 defense in the NBA) and whether he could lead a good team to the next level. There were also questions about whether Chris Paul — the Clippers star and free agent to be July 1, the guy they have to re-sign — wants Del Negro back.
On top of that, there was friction between Del Negro and the Los Angeles front office — it was Del Negro that pushed the Kevin Garnett trade rumors at the deadline, not the front office. And no boss likes it when you pursue and agenda other than theirs.
Rumor is the Clippers want to go big with their hire. If owner Donald Sterling is really willing to cut the check, look for them to talk to guys like Stan Van Gundy and his brother Jeff about the position.
Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.
The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.
Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:
Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.
Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.
Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.
It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:
it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.
That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.
Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.
Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.
I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.
This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.