Posted May 31, 2013

Report: Chris Paul ‘angry’ over Clippers’ portrayal of Vinny Del Negro’s departure

Ben Golliver, Chris Paul, Donald Sterling, Los Angeles Clippers, Vinny Del Negro
Chris Paul is angry at the Los Angeles Clippers follow Vinny Del Negro's departure

Chris Paul (center) has spent two seasons playing for Clippers owner Donald Sterling. (Noah Graham/Getty Images)

The franchise point guard is reportedly upset with his franchise.

ESPN.com reports All-Star guard Chris Paul, set to become an unrestricted free agent in July, is not happy with the Clippers because he feels he is being wrongly blamed for the organization’s decision to part ways with coach Vinny Del Negro earlier this month.

“He’s angry right now and his anger is directed toward the Clippers organization,” the source said. “Chris is a man of principle and if he feels like you’ve gone against his principles, it will affect how he feels about you. He’s very agitated that his name has been put out there as the reason for Vinny’s firing. He had nothing to do with it.”

The site further reports, citing a source, that Paul “refused to get involved” with the organization’s coaching position and that the decision to let go of Del Negro was made solely by Clippers management.

The Los Angeles Times asked Clippers owner Donald Sterling about the decision to part ways with Del Negro, and Sterling told the paper that he felt the need to “support” the team’s “special players.”

“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.

“So I wonder, is this decision being made because the players are now calling the shots? Am I off base?”

“No, you’re not off base,” Sterling said. “This is a players’ league, and, unfortunately, if you want to win you have to make the players happy.”

“But if you have special players, and special players think that they know the best opportunity to win, you have to support them.”

L.A. claimed its first division title, winning 56 games this season, the most in a franchise history that dates to 1970-71. However, the Clippers were eliminated by the Grizzlies in six games in their first-round Western Conference playoff series. That result represented a step back from their semifinals appearance in 2012.

Del Negro told The Dan Patrick Show earlier this week that he was “surprised” that he was let go and said that Paul has “a lot of say-so” in the organization’s decisions.

“Well, Chris is a free agent,” Del Negro said. “They were compelled to make a decision. He’s entitled to his opinion. He made First-Team All-NBA both seasons on defense and on offense and that’s the first time he’s done that in his career. And we set every franchise record. But, in saying that, obviously he’s a free agent, he’s going to have a lot of say-so in a lot of things, as he did the previous summer when we put the team together. … It’s behind me. They are positioned for success in the future. … However it went down, it doesn’t matter.”

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When word first broke that Del Negro was being let go, Yahoo! Sports noted that Del Negro wouldn’t be returning because Paul “wanted a different coach.” CBSSports.com also reported Paul was “not a fan” of Del Negro and that lack of support was “among the biggest reasons” the Clippers chose to move on.

The Clippers have not yet picked Del Negro’s successor and are expected to conduct a deep search for his replacement. The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday former Suns coach Alvin Gentry, Pacers assistant Brian Shaw, former Cavaliers coach Byron Scott and ESPN commentator Jeff Van Gundy are among the names being considered.

Del Negro, 46, holds a career coaching record of 210-184 (.533) in five seasons with the Bulls and Clippers. He was 128-102 (.557) in his three seasons in L.A.

Paul, 28, was selected to his sixth All-Star Game, the All-NBA First Team and the All-Defensive First Team this season and posted averages of 16.9 points, 9.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game. He can sign a five-year deal with the Clippers this summer or settle for a four-year contract with outside suitors.

17 comments
esgalan2
esgalan2

VERY bad moves  for both CP and Sterling !!!!

I would tend to believe Sterling on this one, because I don't see what he had to gain by saying what he said. It a pure PR trainwreck,  with no upsides I can think of. 

I think he made the worst kind of screw-ups  : the "screw-up-by-telling-the-truth" variety.

As for Chris Paul, he is  incredibly "tone-deaf" if he thinks that his stated position of " I don't want to have anything to do with the VDN decision", can be construed as "neutral". It is NOT.

VDN is not a stranger to him  : he has been his COACH for TWO entire seasons !  

In a busines where the accepted norm is to be "upbeat" and "positive" about one's teammates, coaches, managers, etc,  saying "don't ask me to give my two cents" anounts to saying "I can't find  anything good to tell you about this guy". 

The "neutral" stance would have been to issue a public statement saying something anodine like "...regarding the coaching situation, while this is of course a matter that belongs to the management, I wish to say how much I appreciate coach Del Negro and enjoy working with him , bla bla...."

That kind of statement has been routinely uttered by hundreds of players abouts dozens of coaches over the years, and I don't think has ever prevented any team from getting rid of a coach who didn't see eye to eye with the GM/Ownership.

In reality CP has effectively signaled that he didn't care one bit whether VDN stays or goes, and this at a time where he also made clear that he seriously considers leaving  the team  !!!! 

What does he think is going to happen to VDN ?  Come on !!!

And even more, this put the Clippers in the VERY awkward position of having to look for a new coach, without any kind of assurance about what kind of a team the Clippers are going to be next season  ! Must be a blast to "sell" the team to prospective candidates ! 

So if you consider the situation carefully what is actuelly happening is that CP is making the Clippers "audition"  for him, if you will, while he intends to wait and see before committing.  Maximum comfort to him, maximum discomfort for his franchise...

And on the top of it, he wants the Clippers to behave as if  he wasn't part of the coach equation, for the sake of keeping  intact his very lucrative image of the "squeaky clean, likable guy" !!

On the whole CP is entirely free to act as he did. After all this is his career. 

But he shouldn't  expect the Clippers and Sterling to like it !!! 

My guess is that Sterling is quite disappointed and angry with Paul, to whom he has basically offered the keys to the Clippers franchise. And during a long one on one interview, these feelings finally re-surfaced... 

Not very professional but quite human...


kdbarbershop
kdbarbershop

who cares if Paul did make it happen. If you had that kind of power as an employee, wouldn't you employ it? 

FelipeWard
FelipeWard

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riley8
riley8

Chris is a man of principle just as long as the price is right.

marino.eccher
marino.eccher like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 5 Like

So to recap: You fired your coach to make your superstar free agent happy, then threw your superstar free agent under the bus by blabbing about it.

I can't believe this franchise hasn't enjoyed more success.

mbrewer918
mbrewer918 like.author.displayName 1 Like

No, Scott brooks is the worst coach in the west. Its not all about wins because pure talent from the players can account for about 80% of your wins. A good coach will get you past the tough times when the team is not playing well. 

marino.eccher
marino.eccher

@mbrewer918 I don't know about worst in the West (hard to tell if the guys in charge of the bottom feeders are bad coaches or just have terrible rosters or both), but Vinny and Brooks are certainly in the mold of coaches who are just good enough not to take a superstar-led team over the top. They're Doug Collins or Del Harris - fine for 50+ regular season wins and a playoff series or two, not the right guy to get you over the top.

I don't know if the Clippers have the pieces to be a legit contender, but I know we should having that debate about a team that's losing in the conference finals, not the first round.

mbrewer918
mbrewer918

@marino.eccher @mbrewer918 Yes i agree with your observation but Memphis got hot at the right time. Blake not at 100% and Russel out with an injury. the Clippers do have some good parts but they all did play well together at one time much like the Thunder. Del Negro was searching for a productive lineup in the playoffs but just could not put it together for a whole game. Del Negro's biggest fault was playing L.Odom this guy is the worst shot selection guy in the league. I say Brooks is the worse because no matter if were winning or losing he has the same rotation every D@mn game.  He is riding the wave of kd35 and rw0.    

OK
OK

Another LA Prima Donna.

Vying for the starring role with Da Alleged Rapist out for 2013-14.

JasonMacBride
JasonMacBride

For eight figures a year you sometimes have to just put up with things.

donald5
donald5 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Great PR move by Paul.  Gives him more leverage.  He might lose some endorsement value if he decides to leave the Clippers.  However, if the public sees the team as treating him badly, he can leave with less damage to his image.  If he wants to stay, he can ask for more money because the Clippers know the public might be more sympathetic to him and a departure wouldn't hurt his endorsement value as much as it would before.

DjangoZeaman
DjangoZeaman

Del Negro is a terrible coach, possibly one of the very worst in the league. Paul should be proud to have his name associated with that firing.

meandmesa
meandmesa

@DjangoZeaman Yeah, worst coach in the league who got 56 wins, the most ever for the Clipper organization and, who got them into the playoffs the last 2 years. You sir are clueless about basketball and have no understanding of what makes a good coach.  

jon_eng4
jon_eng4

@meandmesa @DjangoZeaman Have you watched the Clippers play this year? Too often, their offense broke down and they lacked the proper defensive principles to compete. Look at the work that Thibs has done with Chicago since VDN was ousted from there: back to back 1 seeds in the east and then this year, with the myriad of injuries they had, over-achieved and went toe to toe with the defending champs in the second round. The game 6 against Memphis was damning against VDN by playing Crawford only 12 minutes and Bledsoe (LAC's best perimeter defender) only 5 minutes. VDN is easily one of the worst coaches in the NBA.