Tag: Vinny Del Negro

Vinny Del Negro

If Doc is out, who is in for Celtics? Maybe Del Negro, Frank


There is once again momentum to the idea that Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett (then later likely Paul Pierce) are headed to the Clippers. It may or may not happen, but a smart GM like Danny Ainge has to start planning for any eventuality.

So, if Doc Rivers is gone from the bench in Boston, who is in?

A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com threw out the first names.

Those names are not likely to thrill Celtics fans.

They are also very different kinds of coaches and you have to wonder if either are really the kind of skill development guys who can help a rebuilding team (which the Celtics would be if they start trading the big three and Doc out).

Del Negro is not known as an Xs and Os guy — he relies heavily on pick-and-roll plays, some other standard NBA sets and a variety of defensive looks — and is more about motivation. He runs a system where he wants the leaders on the court to make the calls much of the time. With the Clippers last year, where Chris Paul was making the decisions, that led to 56 wins and a division title. But don’t think Del Negro was beloved in the locker room at all.

Franks is an old-school, grinding guy who loves the Xs and Os. He had seven seasons and saw some success with the Nets (on teams with Richard Jefferson, Kenyon Martin and Jason Kidd) then spent the last two seasons in Detroit where there were questions about his player development skills. Frank was an assistant with the Celtics.

Frank is also the guy the Nets are targeting to be the lead assistant to Kidd there. Obviously, he will hold them at arm’s length until he sees if he can land a seat in the big chair.

Something to watch, I think a lot of coaches would love to jump in to the prestigious Boston job, but it is a rebuilding gig.

Clippers let go of Vinny Del Negro as coach

Vinny Del Negro

Clippers owner Donald Sterling created a little stir when he was near the court watching Game 1 between the Spurs and Grizzlies Sunday — he didn’t bother to attend all of his own team’s playoff games, why was he suddenly at this one? Was he scouting potential coaches such as the Grizzlies Lionel Hollins or the Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer? Did this mean Vinny Del Negro was in trouble?


The Clippers have let go of coach Vinny Del Negro. It was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. The Clippers have since confirmed that. Del Negro’s contract was set to expire, the Clippers will not offer him a new one.

And as we all expected, what free agent to be Chris Paul wanted  played a hand in this, Wojnarowski said.

Despite considerable success and progress in his two seasons as coach, Del Negro was unable to withstand a first-round Western Conference loss to the Memphis Grizzlies and a free agent-to-be superstar, Chris Paul, who wanted a different coach, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. Del Negro did not have a contract beyond this season.

The Clippers need to do whatever they have to do to keep CP3. Coaches can be replaced, elite talent is much harder to find. You don’t have to like it but it is the way of the world.

This opens up the most attractive coaching position in the NBA — a coach can over a team on the verge of competing for a title. A team with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and talented role players such as Jamal Crawford. While Stan Van Gundy said he was sitting this year  out this is the kind of job that might change his mind. A lot of top coaches would like it — but will Sterling pay the top dollar to get one of them? You know Chris Paul will have a say in this decision (he likes Warriors top assistant Mike Malone, too).

This isn’t a huge surprise — while the Clippers won 56 games and their first ever division title, they disappointed in the playoffs and there was a sense around the league (and in some parts of the Clippers hierarchy) that they really accomplished all that in spite of Del Negro, not because of him. The one thing Del Negro had in his corner is that Sterling liked him, but in the end that wasn’t enough.

Del Negro ran pretty basic offensive sets with the Clippers — which if you have Paul running the show is not a bad call. Defensively the Clippers threw a variety of different looks at teams, but they kind of were the jack-of-all-trades and the masters of none. Del Negro and staff had some nice plays and designs set up for the start of their playoff series against the Grizzlies, but when Hollins made adjustments by Game 3 there were no good counters from the Clippers. Then when Griffin got hurt and was slowed the series was all but over.

Reportedly there was one team with an open coaching position interested in interviewing Del Negro. Which means there is one team out there willing to see how angry they can make their fan base.

Vinny Del Negro rips DeAndre Jordan after Clippers’ loss

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Five

We said this before the season and we said it before the start of the playoffs — the fate of the Clippers really hinged on two things:

1) Playing good defense (they allowed the Grizzlies more than 100 points In Game 5 and had a defensive rating of 111.3).

2) DeAndre Jordan needed to play big for them.

With Blake Griffin hobbled by injury Los Angeles especially needed Jordan on Tuesday night and he had a very pedestrian night — 6 points on 3-of-7 shooting and 8 rebounds in 31 minutes. And that line doesn’t address his defensive struggles against the Grizzlies bigs. Now the Clippers are down 3-2 in the best of seven and have to win Game 6 on the road.

Vinny Del Negro was frustrated after the game and vented a little, reports the Daily News.

“I don’t know if crossroads is the right (word) but there’s definitely a level you have to play at right now that is much different,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. “He has a much different responsibility now. He understands it. I haven’t seen the consistency that I like. He hasn’t seen the consistency he would like….

“I didn’t see him controlling the game the way I thought he needed to, and at that stage you have to go with someone you feel can,” Del Negro said….

“Defensively, offensively, being a threat out there on the glass, using his length, athleticism,” Del Negro said. “But it’s up to him to get out there and earn his minutes and work through anything that’s thrown at him during the game.”

Now for some context. First, Del Negro’s job is on the line here, he doesn’t have a contract past the end of this season and if the Clippers are bounced the odds he gets a new contract drop. Ultimately, a nod from Chris Paul either way could decide Del Negro’s fate, but you know a competitive guy like CP3 is going to be frustrated.

Also remember at the trade deadline when there was a lot of “the Clippers would trade DeAndre Jordan for Kevin Garnett” talk? That was pushed by Del Negro talking to Danny Ainge, not the rest of the Clippers front office. The guys upstairs in the suits had no interest in moving Jordan (and the Celtics were not likely to make that deal anyway). But that created friction between Del Negro and the front office, and this little show is tied to that.

Just remember that as the fate of Del Negro is decided in the coming weeks. Unless Jordan has a monster game in Memphis for Game 6 and keeps his team alive.

Karl on Lakers/Thunder dominance — that’s summer talk.

New York Knicks v Denver Nuggets

The general consensus — and you can throw me in with the majority here — is that the race in the West is for third. Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Lakers are going to battle it out for the top two seeds in the regular season, then they are going to meet in the Western Conference finals.

After them, the race is for third place. San Antonio, the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets all have a legitimate shot at that three seed, but that’s about the best they can hope for.

Nuggets coach George Karl, how do you feel about that? Via the Denver Post.

What I basically say is — that’s summer talk. You have two teams that probably have the most talented players, especially in their top seven, but it’s summer talk. … I have a lot of respect for both of those teams. … But that doesn’t mean we never thought we could overtake them. Our goal this summer was: How do we get better? And how do we move closer to the top-echelon teams?

It is “summer talk” because, well, the moves to bring in Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to the Lakers happened in the summer and we haven’t had any games since then to discuss.

Problem is for Karl (and Popovich and Del Negro) that this summer talk is going to turn into fall then winter talk as well. This is going to happen. They are chasing the Thunder and Lakers.

No pressure Vinny Del Negro, but it’s the last year of your contract

Vinny Del Negro

All season long the talk around the Los Angeles Clippers will be about contracts — Chris Paul will be a free agent next summer. It’s the smart move financially for him to become a free agent and re-sign with the Clippers, but that free agency gives him leverage. Enough leverage that pretty much every player he asked the Clippers to sign they did this past summer.

But it’s not the only contract up next summer.

Coach Vinny Del Negro’s is as well, the Clippers picked up a one-year option for this season to keep him. In one sense he’s in a good spot because owner Donald Sterling likes him, but with a good young team and an expiring contract Del Negro’s seat is going to be warm this season.

He is not too worried about it, he told Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

Del Negro said there has been “a little bit” of discussion about his contract extension, but there is “no sense of urgency for either side” to get a deal done right away.

“Of course, I wish it was under maybe a different situation,” Del Negro said. “But I was on a one-year deal last year and I’m still here and enjoying myself and believe in what we’re doing. I think all those things work themselves out over time.”

In the middle of last season, then Clippers GM Neil Olshey was pushing to have Del Negro removed, but didn’t win that battle. Now Olshey is collecting a larger paycheck in Portland and Del Negro has more power within the organization. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have leverage to push for a change if they want it, but neither wants to be seen as a coach killer.

The Clippers made the second round of the playoffs last year, only they second time they have gotten that far with Sterling as owner (32 years). They have been a back-to-back playoff team just once, but they should match that again this season (especially with new additions like Jamal Crawford and Lamar Odom). It’s hard to let a coach go in that setting.

But there are still questions about whether Del Negro is getting everything out of this team and how far he can really take them. Questions that will undoubtedly come up this season.

But in the end, it’s Sterling’s decision. So anything could happen.