The Los Angeles Clippers looked to have turned over a new leaf after trading for Chris Paul, and having the best regular season winning percentage in franchise history. They are doing their best job of shooting themselves in the foot this off-season though; they exercised the option on Vinny Del Negro, and then let Neil Olshey get courted away by the Portland Trail Blazers. Both of these moves point to one man… Donald Sterling.
Neil Olshey could not have done a better job this year with the Clippers roster; he brought in Chris Paul, Caron Butler, and Chauncey Billups all in the same week. He also supplemented the roster with capable, affordable free agents. Why was he dropped like a hot potato then? It’s all about money, and what Donald Sterling doesn’t want to spend. Vinny Del Negro on the other hand was Donald Sterling’s favorite when the Clippers were interviewing for head coaches, while Olshey liked Dwane Casey better. I think we all know how that one turned out.
“The money was a wash. It wasn’t about that,” Neil Olshey said of his departure. “It was really about proactively the organization (Portland) was willing to make a commitment to me…I wanted to be here because Paul (Allen) wanted me to be here.”
If the Clippers want to go farther than the second round of the playoffs, then they will need a GM as competent as Olshey to surround Chris Paul and Blake Griffin with the right pieces to contend for a championship. And if Donald Sterling isn’t willing to spend the money on an elite executive, then he might not get the elite results he is looking for.