It’s been one week since the Los Angeles Clippers announced they were not planning on re-signing Vinny Del Negro. Speculation was that Chris Paul did not want the Clippers coach of the last three seasons to be his coach for a third, and the Clippers attempted to appease the free agent. TJ Simers of the LA Times got Donald Sterling to all but confirm Paul’s vote of no confidence towards Del Negro–a message none to appreciated by the All Star Point Guard.
It’s been long enough for Donald Sterling and the Clippers to narrow in on a “short list” for who their next coach is, but who is on the usually sorry franchise’s’ “long list” to replace Vinny Del Negro?
Byron Scott–The former point guard of the Los Angeles Lakers would be returning home to coach the “other” LA team. He would also be coaching Chris Paul for the second time after they started each of their current careers together in New Orleans. Scott has worked in TV, and coached the Cavaliers since then, but this Clippers squad would likely be the best team Scott has had the opportunity to coach. Paul likes Scott, and not just because they both have 2 first names. But Byron’s track record as a coach isn’t much better than VDN’s.
Kurt Rambis–Another former Laker on the coaching long list. Rambis even lives in LA currently, doing in-studio analysis for the Lakers and Time Warner Cable SportsNet. Rambis had one head coaching stint with the T-Wolves that didn’t go too well. A long time Phil Jackson assistant, Rambis would be best served to wait for Phil Jackson to come back to coaching. Phil recently described coming back in a fashion where a Rambis type protege could do most of the day to day duties while he manages from a distance.
Phil Jackson–Speaking of Phil Jackson, why would you want anyone else? Phil Jackson gave up coaching, but no one believes him. It would be the ultimate screw you to Jim Buss seeing him in the halls of STAPLES Center coaching the Clippers, but disrespectful to the late Jerry Buss and Phil’s own Lakers legacy. It is very unlikely but always possible.
George Karl–The Clippers have reportedly reached out to Denver’s coach. GM Masai Ujiri who put this team together, and has had Karl’s back during Karl’s struggle with cancer, is now in Toronto. This could just be enough to push him away from the team and community he has been with since 2005.
Lionel Hollins–Hollins has proved to be an excellent coach. He sees the big picture, and makes good in-game adjustments. He took an NBA franchise nobody wanted to be affiliated with and coached it into a NBA Western Conference power. But if that’s the qualifications to coach the Clippers, then they should probably hire Vinny Del Negro. But Hollins could now be headed to LA. Adrian Wojnarowski reported
Asked two sources with direct knowledge of Grizzlies-Hollins talks if they believe he’s coached his final game there. Both answered: “Yes.”
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 2, 2013
Nate McMillan–Most recently the former Seattle SuperSonics player has worked very closely with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin (and Dwight Howard) as one of the assistant coaches for Team USA. Prior to that he was the coach in Portland for 6.5 years, and Seattle for 5 seasons. But similar to VDN and Scott, his playoff successes end in one conference semifinal loss, and several first round exits.
Jerry Sloan–Look no further if you are the Clippers than the retired coach of the Utah Jazz for 22 seasons, and coach of the best pick and roll combination in the history of basketball. If Chris Paul (if he stays) and Blake Griffin are your two best players, you’d be nuts not to go after Sloan. The Clippers liked to play more up tempo than Karl Malone and John Stockton did in the 90s, and Griffin is a more athletic Malone while not as good a shooter. Sloan’s hard nosed attitude could get both parties their first NBA title.
Name Your Favorite Van Gundy–Some reports have Jeff Van Gundy finally returning to the sideline after broadcasting in the booth since 2007. He made the playoffs with the Knicks in 6 consecutive seasons. Jeff’s coaching stock has improved after his broadcast partner Mark Jackson went and turned around the Warriors, which is slightly less difficult than winning with the Clippers. Stan Van Gundy got to the Conference Finals and NBA Finals with Miami and Orlando respectively. The Clippers aren’t in Florida, but it would be entertaining to see Stan Van in the halls with Dwight if they both come and stay in LA for about 5 minutes.
Brian Shaw–The next Phil Jackson disciple is very unlikely to get his first coaching gig coaching for a team that thinks it’s an NBA Champion contender, but the Indiana Pacers assistant is going to get a shot at a head coaching gig soon.
CPIII–Yes that’s right. Chris Paul as the first player coach in the NBA since Dave Cowens in 1979. If the Clippers are concerned with Chris Paul staying, and making sure he supports his coach, the best way to keep him and keep him happy is name him player-coach. It’s what everyone thought he was doing already the last 2 seasons.
WWDSD– Probably the best way to figure out who the next coach will be is to get in the head of the person hiring him. Ask yourself, “What would Donald Sterling do?” Hire the cheapest coach possible. Either a young, unproven coach or an old washed up coach most likely–which is pretty much none of the Clippers long list. The Hawks already hired a Spurs assistant, Mike Budenholzer, but any other assistant or person or broadcaster is likely. That means both Clippers broadcaster Mike Smith and Clipper Darrell have a shot, but Steve Kerr is much more likely to coach his first team, the Clippers, next season.
Who will be the next coach of the Clippers LA Sports Hubsters?