There has been lots of conjecture as to how big a role, Los Angeles Clippers All-Star point guard Chris Paul played in the dismissal of head coach Vinny Del Negro, last month, after the club was knocked-out in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Rumors started flying as soon as they dismissed the former coach, however the Clippers declined comment on the topic until Friday, as the “Los Angeles Times” reports that the team addressed the matter and stated that Paul was not a factor in the decision. Los Angeles Vice President Of Basketball Operations Gary Sacks, told the press that the firing was an “organizational decision.”
Del Negro took the Clippers to their best record in franchise history, winning the Pacific Division with a 56-26 mark, however the team soured on him when they lost in the first round of the Post Season to the Memphis Grizzlies. Sacks told reporters “When we decided not to extend a contract offer to Vinny, it was an organizational decision from the top down. The front office evaluated this season and Vinny the entire three years (he was head coach) before making this move. It had nothing whatsoever to do with any players. We all felt that in order for us to get to where we need to go, that we needed a change and a new coach. Every personnel and coaching decision that we’ve made is us as an organization.”
The Clippers executive, went onto say, that none of the roster will have any say in the matter of who will take over the bench. He said “I don’t think players should be consulted on any decisions personnel-wise once we decide on something. Do we, in the course of talking to our players, get some input? Sure. But all decisions are made strictly by us — 100%. There’s no wavering. There’s no gray area there.”
The veteran point guard, becomes an unrestricted Free Agent on July 1, with the team willing to do what ever it takes to keep him on the roster. He will reportedly be offered a max-deal by the franchise, the moment offers can be extended.