The Los Angeles Clippers have selected Vinny Del Negro as their new head coach, sources close to the situation said on Tuesday.
Del Negro takes over a team that went 29-63 last season under Mike Dunleavy, who was fired in February, then interim replacement Kim Hughes.
The Clippers brought in their finalists for interviews twice over the past two weeks. Along with Del Negro, the organization gave Dallas Mavericks assistant and former Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Dwane Casey a close look. Del Negro and Casey were the two finalists for the Chicago job two years ago. Again, on this occasion, Del Negro got the nod.
For the past two seasons, the 43-year-old Del Negro served as Chicago's head coach, where he strung together consecutive 41-41 seasons along with two first-round playoff appearances before being fired on May 3. Prior to his stint on the Bulls' bench, Del Negro moved from the Suns' broadcast booth to spend two seasons in the Phoenix Suns front office, first as director of player personnel and then as assistant general manager.
Sigh...I guess I shouldn't feel overly cynical. Del Negro proved himself to be a great player's coach, but he's wakling into a world of pessimism. He's going to a Clippers team that's more than likely to strike out completely in the free agent market and he's going to inherit a roster with an over-the-hill Baron Davis and the ultimate cynic in Chris Kaman.
For a guy that barely took the Bulls to the 8th spot in the East, the Western Conference is going to eat poor Vinny for breakfast.
(edited by It's False on 6.7.10 2009)
MD: You have to win, no matter what. SC: Why didn't you try that this year?
Del Negro proved himself to be a great player's coach
I don't know that the players really liked him either. One of the defining moments of the VDN era in Chicago was Vinny being thrown out of a game and Kirk Hinrich telling the team "Let's win this one for Vinny!" as a joke. Everyone laughed. Post-firing talk said Vinny lost the team really early on, and his in game strategy was universally panned.
Even if by some small chance Gasol busts, the Lakers are still the big winners here if ONLY because they finally got rid of Kwame Brown and his obscene contract. Now that's addition by subtraction! So long, Kwame!