This isn’t good news for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Chris Broussard of ESPN reports that soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Chris Paul is angry at the Clips for giving off the notion that he’s the reason that Vinny Del Negro was fired.
“He’s angry right now and his anger is directed toward the Clippers organization,” the source said. “Chris is a man of principle and if he feels like you’ve gone against his principles, it will affect how he feels about you. He’s very agitated that his name has been put out there as the reason for Vinny’s firing. He had nothing to do with it.”
True or not, Del Negro believes Paul got him fired, according to a source close to the Clippers’ ex-coach. The source added that Del Negro had no idea during the regular season or the playoffs that Paul wanted him out. On an appearance on the Dan Patrick radio show, Del Negro implied on Thursday that Paul was the reason he was let go.
via Source: Chris Paul ‘angry’ with Clips – ESPN Los Angeles
Horrible timing for the Clippers. The future of this franchise depends on whether they re-sign Chris Paul this summer. There was never a guarantee that he’d sign with the club, but the word was that he’d be back. There’s no room for error as Dallas, Indiana, Atlanta or any other team with enough cap space to sign a max contract and contend come next season will be waiting in the shadows.
But now, things are held in a different light. And this isn’t surprising. This is the Clippers we’re talking about here and they have a history of being slightly incompetent (hi Donald Sterling!). After two years of being a respectable franchise, losing CP would push this franchise back to the dark days. The days where this club was the laughing stock of the league and the worst team in Los Angeles. That’s what’s on the line here.
Whether Chris Paul was the reason that Del Negro was fired, it doesn’t matter for the front office. They’ll be spending their entire summer attempting to clear the air so that they and Paul can get back on good terms. Luckily for Los Angeles they can $108 million over the course of five years on Paul which is $28 million more than any other team in the league can offer.
Outside of that the playing field may have become even. Entering his ninth year, Paul wants to win. He’ll weigh his options carefully. Unless he’s joining Dwight Howard and Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas or Paul George and Roy Hibbert in Indiana, the supporting cast won’t be as good as what he has now. Maybe he could push a sign-and-trade to finally join forces with Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire in New York.
No one knows, but with this news emerging it makes for an interesting summer ahead for Paul and the Clippers.