Before debating the merits and deficiencies of Vinny del Negro, let’s remember the Clippers have a long history of replacing coaches.
It’s the way they solve problems.
I wish they’d notice that stability is something to cherish in professional sports.
There were Walter Alston and Tommy Lasorda with the Dodgers, about 20 years each, the players knowing there was no doubt about who was in charge.
There were Phil Jackson and Pat Riley in the NBA, and the players knew what was expected. Do it right or move on.
Now there is Gregg Popovich, year after year winning. The San Antonio Spurs have a solid foundation and add quality young players who fit their system.
I heard Tim Duncan say the plan doesn’t always seem best but Popovich has been succeeding for a long time. So they do what he asks and it usually turns out right.
Credibility comes with longevity.
But the Clippers promote chaos with their revolving door of head coaches, more than 20 since they moved to Los Angeles in 1984.
And now Del Negro is not invited back after presiding over one of the great seasons in Clipper history – a record 56 wins, their first Pacific Division championship, a 4-0 record against the Lakers.
Del Negro’s sin was losing to the Memphis Grizzlies in the first playoff round after the Clippers won the first two games.
Well, if Del Negro loses his job because of that Scott Brooks should be fired in Oklahoma City because his Thunder also lost to the Grizzlies in the playoffs.
The sad thing is the Clippers were on the right path at last in gaining stature in Los Angeles. They were better than the Lakers. They were making right roster moves while the Lakers were experiencing a painful change from Jerry Buss to his son, Jim Buss.
Last year the Clippers eliminated the Grizzlies in the first playoff round even though Memphis had the home court advantage.
Did the Grizzlies fire Coach Lionel Hollins? No. Did they come back stronger and do better in the playoffs a year later? Yes.
Didn’t the Clippers see what another year with the same coach could produce? I guess not.
I’m not saying the Clippers might not do better next season with Nate McMillan, Byron Scott or whoever they hire.
I’m saying change is upsetting. A new coach will install a new system. Adjustments will become necessary. Why go though that if it isn’t essential?