The Los Angeles Clippers will take “about a week” to decide whether to bring back head coach Vinny Del Negro, whose contract expires at the end of June, according to ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelbourne.
The team had preliminary discussions with Del Negro about a contract extension before the season, but “tabled them indefinitely,” the report states.
Although longtime Lakers coach Phil Jackson is often mentioned as a possible replacement, the Clippers hiring Jackson is unlikely because his relationship with Lakers executive Jeanie Buss would make the situation “too creepy,” a source told Shelbourne.
The Clippers are 128-102 with two playoff appearances in Del Negro’s three seasons in L.A., but the team has endured two disappointing postseason exits since acquiring star point guard Chris Paul.
From the report:
“That’s what it was last year, too,” Del Negro said after the game. The Clippers had a team option on him after last season as well.
“So I just go about my business. I think my staff has done a fantastic job. I give them a ton of credit. Players. You’ve got to deal with a lot of things when you’re in this position, but I enjoy it.
“It’s something that I want to do, not something I have to do. I enjoy it, I enjoy the competition, I enjoy seeing guys develop and come together as a team. A lot of things are thrown at you, that’s for sure, but I love the challenge of it.”
Clippers sources insist no decision has been made on Del Negro yet and that this early playoff exit won’t be the only basis upon which he’s judged. The team won a franchise-record 56 games this season and Del Negro has always had a good relationship with the team’s ownership.