The Clippers, who have moved as deliberately as any team in their offseason coaching search, are leaning strongly toward hiring either Vinny Del Negro or Dwane Casey, three sources confirmed to CBSSports.com.
Unless something goes awry in the interview or negotiating process, the Clippers will be choosing between two former head coaches fired by their previous teams -- and the two finalists for the Bulls' head coaching job when Chicago hired Del Negro two years ago. Del Negro and Casey are expected to interview with team president Andy Roeser and GM Neil Olshey early next week.
Rather than bring in a half dozen candidates for interviews, the Clippers have conducted a thorough background search on candidates before sitting down face-to-face with them. It is anticipated, but not a foregone conclusion, that the Clippers will have a coach in place in time for the start of the free-agent negotiating period that begins July 1. With an attractive young roster including Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon and No. 8 pick Al-Farouq Aminu, plus about $27 million in cap space to attract free agents, the Clippers' job actually was one of the better opportunities available on the NBA's coaching merry-go-round this summer.
Besides the deliberative nature of the search, one of the sources with knowledge of the situation said persistent overtures from Bobcats coach Larry Brown have slowed the process. But it appears that Brown will remain in Charlotte -- and, in any event, Bobcats GM Rod Higgins presumably will require a firm commitment from his coach at some point. But Brown's inability to become a significant factor in the Clippers' search was "not for his lack of trying," the person familiar with the matter said. Another person directly involved in the process handicapped Brown's chances of landing with the Clippers as "one in a billion."