Despite winning a franchise-record 56 games and winning the franchise's first Pacific Division title, the Los Angeles Clippers have decided not to renew head coach Vinny Del Negro's contract when it expires at the end of June. Del Negro is out after three seasons in Los Angeles, of which the last two produced winning records and playoff appearances for the first time in 20 years.
Del Negro's Clippers team saw a resurgence under his watch, though the emergence of All-Star Blake Griffin and the franchise's trade for All-Star Chris Paul were major reasons why. With that personnel leading the way and other role players--notably center DeAndre Jordan, sixth man Jamal Crawford and reserve Eric Bledsoe--to boot, many expected the team to enjoy more playoff success than it did. After defeating the Memphis Grizzlies to advance to the second round in last year's playoffs, the Grizzlies returned the favor this year, in six games, after the Clippers took a 2-0 lead to begin the series.
Del Negro came to Los Angeles from Chicago, where he was fired after Year 2 of a three-year contract. Though the Bulls also showed improvement in his two seasons--they went 81-81 combined after a 33-49 record in 2007-08--they, too, were unable to get out of the first round in either season.
And like reports that surfaced in Chicago, Del Negro reportedly did not see eye-to-eye with Clippers owner Donald Sterling and was often criticized for his rotations and lineups. And despite the successes the Clippers enjoyed, many thought--like it was in Chicago--that Del Negro's teams underachieved and that he was a reason why.