Twice now this season, the Clippers have brought joy to Clipperland with the announcement that they Mike Dunleavy Sr. has been relieved of his duties. The first time was in February when he gave up his role as head coach to focus his efforts on front office responsibilities and the second was earlier today when the team announced Dunleavy was permanently relieved from his front office responsibilities so he could focus solely on his…golf game? Rogaine? Working as a commentator for this season’s playoffs? I’m not exactly sure what he’s going to do now but I do know it won’t be taking any role in the team’s rebuilding this summer.
My initial thought when I pulled my laptop out was that I would relay my confusion over the timing of the move (announced during the second half of the team’s loss tonight), point in time in the season (only 18 games remaining) and the fact that the Dunleavy actually has a pretty decent track record in the front office, and did especially well for the team at this season’s trade deadline.
But then I realized that all of these things made it sound like I am upset by the move, and that is certainly not the case.
The team’s recent dismal play has all but guaranteed Kim Hughes will be given no chance at returning as the team’s head coach next year. Anyone they bring in to replace him is going to find the job much, much more attractive if it comes with a strong hand in shaping the team’s roster. With a All-Star center in Chris Kaman, a rising star in Eric Gordon and last year’s number one overall draft pick Blake Griffin set to return next season, the team has pieces in place to make it an attractive destination. Baron Davis and DeAndre Jordan are the only other players on the current roster who are also under contract for next year and they also hold the Bird Rights to Travis Outlaw and Steve Blake.
Who is going to be interested is a post for another day, though SportsIllustrated.com reported on its website today that current Charlotte Bobcats head coach Larry Brown recently reached out to Donald Sterling to let the owner know that he might be interested and available to return to the team.
Regardless what happens, the Clippers’ off-season just became even more interesting, and the possibilities that will arrive with it mean only one thing: there’s reason, once again, for optimism to return to Clipperland.