Vinny Del Negro never jumped through my television screen looking like lob city personified to me this season. Maybe it's the mullet-y hairstyle he's been rocking since his playing days, or maybe it's something else. Whatever the case, I didn't think he'd be back as head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers next season. There was talk of unhappiness with Del Negro's reported from the player's side of things this season too, which added even more resolve to my personal position on the matter. As I found out this morning, however, I was wrong.
Vinny's back, y'all. This according to the Los Angeles Times:
The Clippers on Tuesday said Vinny Del Negro would return as coach next season after leading them to the highest winning percentage in the franchise's history in the regular season and taking them into the second round of the playoffs.
Eight days after the Clippers had exit interviews with their players, the team said they had exercised the option on Del Negro's contract for the 2012-13 season.
Neil Olshey, Clippers vice president of basketball operations, said there "was never an issue" on whether Del Negro would be retained. Olshey said owner Donald Sterling and President Andy Roeser "were all in unison" on bringing Del Negro back for a third season as coach.
"Mr. Sterling, Andy and I kind of knew this was a fait accompli right after the season," Olshey said during a conference call. "It was just a matter of us having other housecleaning things to deal with. We dealt with those, and now we're ready to move on to our off-season and the first order of business was to exercise Vinny's option."
Del Negro said he never worried about a time frame on when he would hear whether his contract was picked up by the Clippers.
Whether he was actually worried or not he should've been. It appears though that the players gave Vinny an endorsement on their way to the Bahamas in their respective exit interviews referenced by the Times in this report. So good for Del Negro, and good on the Clippers for finally being all in unison or whatever Andy Roeser was talking about.
Now that the Coach is settled, the next move for the Clips is to figure out how to get another scorer into their starting lineup. Chauncey might've been that guy but he spent this season injured. Mo Williams put points on the board but Vinny chose to bring him off the bench. Nick Young threw points up in a hurry down the stretch after coming over at the deadline, but who knows how they use him in a full season type situation. Randy Foye was there, Eric Bledsoe too, so some things need to be sorted out.
In the meantime, Blake Griffin is there and so is Chris Paul, which is why the Clippers are good. If they want to be great, there's plenty of work still to do out in LA, and I guess Vinny is just the man for that job.