(Reuters) – The Los Angeles Clippers have decided to part ways with head coach Vinny Del Negro, announcing on Tuesday they will not offer him a new contract to lead the National Basketball Association team.
The Associated Press adds more details:
Del Negro had a 128-102 regular-season record in three years with the team. The Clippers made the playoffs the last two seasons, including last year when they advanced to the second round for only the second time since the franchise moved to Los Angeles in 1984.
This season, the team won a franchise-record 56 games, including a 17-game winning streak. And with All-Stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the Clippers were one of the NBA’s most exciting attractions, with acrobatic dunks and dazzling playmaking. But the postseason was quick and disappointing — an exit in six games to Memphis despite a 2-0 lead.
“We would like to thank Vinny for everything he did during his three years with the organization,” Sacks said. “Vinny helped this team win a Pacific Division title and we greatly appreciate all that he and his staff helped us accomplish.”
The search for a new coach will begin immediately.
Del Negro had the highest winning percentage (.557) for a coach in the club’s beleaguered history. He is the only coach to have consecutive winning seasons since the Buffalo Braves moved to California and became the Clippers in 1978. The Clippers had just six winning seasons in their first 41 years. Now they’ve put together consecutive winning records and playoff appearances for the first time in 20 years.
“We’ve set every franchise record,” Del Negro said two weeks ago. “So I’m proud of a lot of things we did.”
Much of the credit for the dramatic turnaround went to Paul and Griffin. Del Negro was criticized at times this season for his rotations, and there was speculation about whether he would return.
Paul and Griffin have been supportive of their coach, and two weeks ago Sacks acknowledged that the players’ opinions would be part of the decision on Del Negro.