Vinny Del Negro being let go by the Los Angeles Clippers seemed to be the first step in keeping superstar point guard Chris Paul in a Clippers’ uniform.
The Next step was to wrangle head coach Doc Rivers away from the Boston Celtics.
Done, done and done. Del Negro is gone, Rivers is the man in charge for the Clippers and Paul has agreed to a five-year $107 million contract to remain a clipper.
None of the above was as easy and drama free as I made it sound though.
First there’s Vinny, the coach who led the Clippers to a franchise-record 56 victories this past season was fired and there were rumblings that Clippers’ power forward Blake Griffin and Paul had something to do with that.
Paul denies having anything to do with Del Negro’s release. The Clippers then moved on to there next project, finding a coach to replace Del Negro that would help Paul stay put in Los Angeles.
Then there was Doc, after what seemed like ten years of back-and-forth, the Celtics let Rivers out of the three years $21 million that remained on his contract for a first round draft pick in 2015 from the Clippers.
Reports surfaced early this morning that Paul would remain a Clipper after free agency was to officially begin after 12:00 am.
The Clippers now have their guys, whether Paul had anything to do with Del Negro leaving is now moot. Although, doesn’t the thought creep into you mind that maybe he did have a say in Vinny leaving town? Paul didn’t even flinch when free agency began this morning, does the fact that he now has the coach he wants have anything to do with Paul not even shopping around?
The Clippers may not be done making moves. The team is reportedly in talks with the Toronto Raptors about trading guard Eric Bledsoe. This comes as no surprise, as Bledsoe was a sticking point for the Clippers as they were in talks with the Celtics about acquiring Rivers.
Before the Rivers deal went down, there were all types of scenarios that were put on the table, including the Celtics wanting Eric Bledsoe to be involved in a package that would send center DeAndre Jordan and possibly Caron Butler to Boston for Kevin Garnett.
The Clippers made it clear from the beginning that Bledsoe would not be involved in a trade to Boston. There were reports that the Clippers wanted to hold on to Bledsoe for a future trade down the line. Well, that’s exactly what seems to be happening.
With a few minor details to work out (possible Bledsoe trade) it is now time for the Clippers to put all the drama behind them and concentrate on a 2013-2014 season that will bring expectations the franchise has yet to deal with.