Clippers, Vinny Del Negro and locker room conflict-- again?

Clips Nation,

I am posting this story in its entirety. It is part of a much, much longer article. It comes to us from ESPN's Weekend Dime and it is worth reading. Might there be some truth to it? Possibly. Is ESPN fishing for something (conflicts) that does not exist? Probably. But just as we're putting the whole VDN drama behind us... well, you get the idea.

I hope our Fearless Leader does not mind me putting it on the Front Page.

No coach in the modern day is foolish enough to bank on a vote of confidence from an owner. Least of all when it comes from Donald Sterling.

So what was said in last week's Weekend Dime still holds. The lack of a slam-dunk interim option, more than anything Sterling told the Los Angeles Times this week, should help Vinny Del Negro keep his job for the rest of the season.

Sources briefed on the situation told that "chaos" isn't too strong a term for what's happening in the Clippers' locker room -- with Kenyon Martin and Reggie Evans said to be clashing -- but sources likewise insist that former Grizzlies coach Marc Iavaroni is not considered an option to replace Del Negro even on a rest-of-the-season basis.

Robert Pack, not Iavaroni, is the Del Negro assistant at the front of the interim line, but Pack's promise and presumed ability to connect with Chris Paul after working with him in both New Orleans and L.A. doesn't change the fact that he's never been a head coach before. That would make it a hard handoff from Del Negro to Pack, given how much pressure the Clips are already facing to salvage something from this season, withBlake Griffin eligible for a contract extension in July and CP3 under contract only through June 2013.

The working assumption is that the Clips will certainly be in the market for a new coach in the summer who can entice Griffin and Paul to make long-term commitments to Clipperland, but a lifetime of Sterling-watching has me skeptical. What veteran coach is going to go there without some strong evidence that Griffin and Paul are willing to stay? Pacers assistant Brian Shaw, still waiting for his first head-coaching opportunity, seems a likely target.

(D'Antoni's name is routinely attached to this job as the best fit to coach CP3 and Blake, which is certainly true, but sources close to the freshly ousted MDA insist that he's serious about taking a season off after this summer's Team USA duties on Mike Krzyzewski's staff to recharge with family. One assumes that the quality of the offers will ultimately determine how long D'Antoni sits, but that's the early word.)


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