In professional sports it’s tough for any coach who doesn’t have the support of the team’s best player to hold onto that position long term as former Los Angeles Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro, can now attest.
We reported yesterday that the Clippers fired Del Negro, and that Chris Paul was most likely the reason why. Well, according to a story courtesy T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times, Clippers owner Donald Sterling, basically admitted that Paul had something to do with Del Negro’s dismissal.
“The coach is a wonderful man, and I’m sad about the whole thing,” Sterling said.
“Was this done,” I asked, “just to hang on to Chris Paul?”
“I always want to be honest and not say anything that is not true,” Sterling said. “So I’d rather not say anything.
“But you know, the coach did a really good job. I think he did. And I liked working with him. There are just factors that make life very complicated and very challenging.”
Paul obviously felt that Del Negro wasn’t up to the task of taking the Clippers to the next level. And although, the team had its best season in franchise history, the feeling is that had more to do with the depth in talent the Clippers possessed and less to do with Del Negro.
The team struggled against the better teams in the league and looked hopeless in the first-round playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Clippers better hope that move is enough to appease Paul.