Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s career as a Clipper assistant coach did not last long as the Hall of Fame center reportedly was told by the team Tuesday he was no longer needed.
Abdul-Jabbar, who joined the Clippers in early February under interim Coach Jim Todd, had not been a regular around the team’s offices since the end of the season and was informed the team was going in a different direction.
Although the Clippers denied the report late Tuesday night, assistant Dennis Johnson said Abdul-Jabbar told him that he was released.
“Kareem called me and said, ‘They told me that my services were no longer needed,’ ” Johnson said. “Kareem didn’t say much else but he wished me luck in the future.”
Abdul-Jabbar joined the Clippers after Chris Ford was fired as head coach. When he and Johnson became assistants under Todd, Abdul-Jabbar made it known that he wanted to be a head coach in the league and expected to make a difference in the play of Michael Olowokandi, the No. 1 pick in the 1998 draft.
The Clippers have already said Todd will not return as coach next season.
“I know they are still talking to a couple of people, but I believe I am still in the running,” said Johnson, a favorite choice of the players.
Along with Johnson, the Clippers reportedly have had discussions with John Lucas, John Thompson, Alvin Gentry and Lionel Hollins.