Vinny Del Negro
The Clippers parted ways with coach Vinny Del Negro Tuesday, deciding not to renew his contract after the team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. Del Negro led the Clippers to a 56-26 record this season and helped the organization to its first division title.
“This was a difficult decision, but we feel this is the best decision for our franchise moving forward,” said Gary Sacks, vice president of basketball operations.
Now, the Clippers are focused on finding someone to replace Del Negro. According to the Los Angeles Times, former Cavaliers coach Byron Scott, Warriors assistant Mike Malone and Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer are top candidates for the job.
Scott, who was just fired from Cleveland after a 24-58 season, was the coach of the Hornets when they drafted current Clippers point guard Chris Paul in 2005. Scott and Paul reportedly had a “father-son” type of relationship and Scott’s presence could help keep Paul — who is a free agent this offseason — in Los Angeles.
Malone is another candidate who Paul holds in high regard from his days in New Orleans, according to CBS Sports writer Ken Berger. Malone has spent time with the Cavaliers and Hornets before most recently helped the Warriors to a trip to the Western Conference semifinals.
Budenholzer has spent his entire NBA coaching career with the Spurs organization, as he started as a video coordinator there in 1994. From there, he worked his way up to assistant coach in 1996 and was named top assistant in 2007. He already has interviewed with the Hawks for their coaching vacancy.
Another popular name that has been mentioned has been Lionel Hollins, who is coaching the Grizzlies in the Western Conference finals. Hollins is No. 1 on the Clippers’ list according to Huffington Post writer Mark Heisler.