According to league sources who spoke with Ken Berger of CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Clippers are expected to dismiss Vinny Del Negro as their head coach after three seasons. The Clippers front office is evaluating Del Negro’s position and a final decision likely could come soon.
The Clippers were eliminated from the postseason after losing four straight games to the Memphis Grizzlies after a 2-0 series lead.
All wasn’t bad this season for Del Negro. He coached the Clippers to the franchise’s first 50-win season and division title. However, with the expectations going into this season, the Clippers first round exit is an underwhelming finish.
The Bobcats coaching carousel is very assistant-heavy. While rumors of Nate McMillan continue to swirl, Alvin Gentry confirmed former NBA head coach expected to interview with the team. If Del Negro becomes a free agent he would give the Bobcats another legitimate head coach to consider.
Like Gentry and McMillan, Del Negro has local ties to the area, claiming North Carolina State as his almamater. He had never been a head or assistant coach prior to landing his first gig with the Chicago Bulls, which makes it impressive that he’s made the playoffs four times in five seasons.
He’s been fortunate enough to coach both Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin in their first few seasons in the league, which is encouraging to show that he can manage a team with a young coveted star.
The Clippers the last few seasons have made good strides, in an offense that did a good job showcasing athleticism in the open court and an improved defense. They finished 2nd in points off turnovers, 5th in points in the paint and 8th in fastbreak points. All this on a Clippers team who was 4th in scoring this season.
It wouldn’t be fair to expect the Bobcats to duplicate things like that, but it’s saying something that the Clippers had two of their highest offensive ratings in franchise history under Del Negro.
Despite this and his .533 winning percentage, he still remains a bit of an enigma and has been an easy fall-guy in his stops in Chicago and Los Angeles. Surely, there’s going to be a lot of skepticism as to why that is.
There’s also questions as to whether he can control a locker room and really embrace the leadership of being a head coach. The Clippers had chemistry issues down the stretch and didn’t show great composure in this year’s postseason.
With so many coaching vacancies around the league, it’s not hard to imagine Del Negro getting interest elsewhere. But could you picture him roaming the sidelines at Time Warner Cable Arena as the head coach of the Bobcats?