Clippers’ Vinny Del Negro, others enter off-season of uncertainty
A day after the Clippers’ season ended with a playoff sweep, questions swirled at the team’s practice facility about the future of their coach and a number of other players whose contracts that are now up in the air.
At a gathering with reporters Monday, Clippers General Manager Neil Olshey was non-committal on whether the team would pick up Coach Vinny Del Negro’s option for the 2012-2013 season.
“That’s not what we’re here to talk about,” Olshey said. “Coaching contacts, GM contracts, trainers’ contracts, that’s not today.
“I think we deserve the same courtesy everybody else gets. ... [Atlanta Hawks Coach] Larry Drew got his option picked up a few days [after their season ended]. … I think Vinny did a great job, and that’s as far as I’m going to go today.”
Del Negro said “All that stuff works itself out,” and added that he was “not going to get into my contract stuff.”
The team faces a somewhat less-pressing situation with its star power forward Blake Griffin, who has one year remaining on his current deal. On July 1, the all-star can sign a five-year contract extension with the Clippers.
Monday, Griffin said he does not want to make his decision “a huge public thing,” but did offer some insight into his current feelings.
“One thing I’ll say is that everything that’s happened since I’ve been here has been a step in the right direction, in my opinion,” Griffin said. “I think everything we wanted to see done as players, management has done. It’s a great place to play.”
Griffin’s star running mate Chris Paul has exercised the option on his contract for next season and can also sign an extension during the off-season.
The Clippers lost their fourth and final game, 102-99, to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night at Staples Center, and Paul was still shouldering the blame a day later.
“I didn’t play well,” he said. “In the playoffs is when the leaders on your team have to perform. … It makes you angry, it makes you hungry, it makes you start getting ready for next year already.”
Times staffer writer Broderick Turner contributed to this report.
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