Monday, May 21, 2012
Vinny Del Negro won't discuss future
By Pedro Moura ESPNLosAngeles.com
PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- On the day after their landmark season came to an end with a four-game sweep at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs, the Los Angeles Clippers were in no mood to talk about the future of their coach.
The Clippers have a team option on Vinny Del Negro for next season and must decide by June 1 whether or not to exercise it. General manager Neil Olshey, who's also working without a contract, said Monday that he would not address Del Negro's job status publicly.
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As it turned out, San Antonio needed its full stable of players in Game 4 to hold off the Clippers 102-99 for a series sweep, writes Kevin Arnovitz. Story
"That's not what we're here to talk about," Olshey said Monday. "Coaching contracts, GM contracts, trainer contracts, that's not today. ... All that stuff will sort itself out."
"I think Vinny did a great job, and that's as far as I'm going to go today," Olshey added.
Del Negro refused to discuss his future when asked if he expected to be brought back for the 2012-2013 season.
"I'm not gonna get into all my contract stuff," Del Negro said. "It's a waste of energy and whatever I say, you're not gonna listen anyway, so it doesn't matter."
Del Negro has spent two seasons as Clippers coach. Hired in July 2010, he's compiled a regular-season record of 72-76 and a playoff record of 4-7. He spent the previous two years as coach of the Chicago Bulls and finished 81-81 there, getting bounced in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs both times.
Del Negro came under fire in March after the Clippers lost home games to Golden State and Phoenix, then went on the road and lost to Indiana, Oklahoma City and New Orleans.
He maintained at that time that he wouldn't let any perceived threats to his job security affect the way he approached his job. He said similar things Monday, denying he'd be uncomfortable over the next 10 days by preparing for next season without the certainty he'll be re-signed.
"It's not, because I'm not worried about it," Del Negro said. "I'll let that stuff work itself out."
Clippers guard Chris Paul said for the second straight day that he thought Del Negro did a "great" job managing the different personalities the team assembled progressively throughout the season.
Paul also revealed that he phoned Olshey around midnight Monday to discuss the future of the franchise and apologized for his subpar play in the Clippers' second-round series against the Spurs.
"I told him that I hated how it ended," Paul said. "I don't think we should have been swept, and stuff like that. I told him I'll get better and this won't happen again."