Clippers reach deal with Del Negro to coach
July 7, 2010
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Clippers reached an agreement in principle with Vinny Del Negro to become the team’s head coach.
The team said Tuesday night in an e-mail that more details would be announced Wednesday.
Del Negro was fired by the Chicago Bulls in May after going 82-82 in two seasons and making two postseason appearances. Though he got Chicago back on track after a poor start last season, he feuded with team president John Paxson, and the two had a postgame altercation on March 30.
Mike Dunleavy quit as Clippers coach in early February to focus exclusively on his general manager duties, then he and the team severed ties completely on March 8. His assistant, Kim Hughes, finished the season as interim coach before being dismissed on April 15.
The Clippers had a 29-53 record last season, missing the playoffs for the 15th time in 17 years. They were 8-33 on the road, their worst mark away from home since 1999-2000, when they went 5-36.
Del Negro’s hiring comes with the Clippers having significant salary cap space in their attempt to lure free agent LeBron James from Cleveland.
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Whether they’re successful in landing James should be known Thursday night, when he is expected to announce where he will play next season.
With or without James, Del Negro will oversee a roster featuring Blake Griffin, last year’s No. 1 draft pick who got hurt and missed all of last season. He is healthy now and is expected to anchor a lineup that includes All-Star center Chris Kaman, former All-Star guard Baron Davis and Eric Gordon.
The Clippers recently drafted Al-Farouq Aminu of Wake Forest and Willie Warren of Oklahoma and traded for guard Eric Bledsoe of Kentucky.