|The Clippers' Vinny Del Negro could wind up as a lame-duck coach by the end of the season. (Getty Images)|
Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro, against all odds, managed to win the game of musical chairs with former general manager Neil Olshey. Only one of them was likely to stay, and it wound up being Del Negro. So you would think he has some more pull, some more security. But as Del Negro told the Los Angeles Times, he's without a contract and there hasn't been much talk about a bigger deal.
Del Negro said there has been "a little bit" of discussion about his contract extension, but there is "no sense of urgency for either side" to get a deal done right away.
"Of course, I wish it was under maybe a different situation," Del Negro said. "But I was on a one-year deal last year and I'm still here and enjoying myself and believe in what we're doing. I think all those things work themselves out over time."
There has been a fairly consistent feeling that Del Negro is only a few losses away from being let go at any time. Things became heated in the middle of last season with rampant talk that Del Negro would be fired in the midst of a Clippers losing streak. But the team went on a run and wound up finishing fifth in the West.
Del Negro's a fairly controversial figure in the coaching world. He was given his first gig with Chicago despite a distinct lack of experience. He seems to make perplexing decisions at times, and there has been a widespread feeling that Chris Paul does a lot of huddle coaching. At the same time, both Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin developed extremely well under Del Negro.
This is make-or-break time for Del Negro, and everyone knows it. If things were to go badly, or even if the Clippers don't make substantial headway in the conference, Del Negro could wind up an unofficial lame duck.