The number one goal for the Clippers this offseason was simple: Keep Chris Paul happy. Apparently, the organization has already failed to meet their goal.
A star point guard, Paul is set to be one of the top targets in free agency, and the Clippers desperately need to hold on to him. Reportedly, as part of their effort to do so the team let go of head coach Vinny Del Negro for whom Paul did not want to continue to play.
Only, we were not supposed to know that.
According to Chris Broussard, Paul feels that he has been thrown under the bus with the insinuations that he wanted a coaching change. Specifically, comments made by owner Donald Sterling indicate that the change was made for the sake of the players.
Sterling told the Los Angeles Times that “this is a players’ league, and unfortunately, if you want to win, you have to make the players happy.”
Del Negro has also made it clear that he believes the point guard is why he is looking for a new job.
Despite the fact that the blame cannot plausibly fall entirely on Paul’s shoulders (management was never happy with Del Negro and the team underperformed), the timing of the dispute is bizarre given the need for Los Angeles to hold on to Paul.
The Hawks, Mavericks, and Rockets are just a few of the teams poised to make a run at the superstar, and the potential pairings those teams could offer could put the Clippers at a disadvantage if he is already unhappy with the organization.