The coaching carousel
Chris Paul is smart enough to know that whether he denies it or not, it’s going to be assumed he got Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro fired. Chris is the franchise. He can also become a free agent July 1st. Clippers management will do anything to keep him. And that would include, if he asked for it, a coach of his choice. Though Chris has never publicly criticized Vinny it’s at least certain he didn’t give management an ultimatum to keep him.
Besides, there’s a history in L.A. of a point guard with an engaging smile getting a coach bounced that worked out pretty well. Waaaay back in 1983… Magic Johnson went public about his frustration with head coach Paul Westhead; even though they had won an NBA championship just two years earlier. Owner Jerry Buss pulled the trigger and Westhead was gone. A former player and commentator on the Lakers’ radio broadcasts was named coach. Fellow named Pat Riley — who went on to win 4 titles in the ’80s — and is still doing a pretty good job with the Miami Heat.
But at the time, Magic took a lot of criticism. So even if Chris wasn’t happy with the direction of the team, he knows better than to say anything in the media. And again, it’s only conjecture that he had something to do with the Clippers declining to give Vinny a new deal. But, hey! It’s L.A. No one is ever fired. They are just “allowed to pursue other opportunities.”