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Clippers fire Kim Hughes

The Clippers fired interim head coach Kim Hughes on Thursday, the morning after their last game of the season.

It was no secret the last few weeks that Hughes didn’t have a long shelf life as coach, not when the team had an 8-25 record under his guidance. But he arrived at the team’s Playa Vista headquarters Thursday morning, braced for a long day of exit interviews with the players.

Instead, Hughes got the word in a meeting with General Manager Neil Olshey. And team President Andy Roeser was involved, via a conference call.

Roeser “said that Mr. Sterling wanted to go in a different direction,” Hughes said, speaking of owner Donald Sterling.

Hughes said he thanked them for letting him know now, rather than at the end of June when his contract expired, so he could start a job search immediately.

The experience of running a team “made me a better coach,” Hughes said. “I wish I could have worked with the guys next year.”

Said Roeser, in a statement: “We appreciate Kim’s contributions during his time here especially over the last two and a half months. But we also know that our responsibility is to do what is in the organization’s immediate best interests for its ability to move forward.”

The Clippers said a coaching search was underway, but there is not a leading candidate.

“We think our situation is extremely attractive, both from the standpoint of the talented and popular core of players who are already under contract, as well as the salary cap flexibility we have created for this summer,” Roeser said.

As for head coach candidates, “I think I should be considered,” assistant Clippers coach John Lucas said.

Meanwhile, Hughes is turning his attention to finding a new job. “I’m already bored,” he said.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa


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