With the NBA playoffs right around the corner, the Los Angeles Clippers may already be looking ahead to next season and the opportunity to have Stan Van Gundy replace Vinny Del Negro on the sidelines, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
The Clippers have clinched the Pacific Division, but they haven't been playing like champs lately, going 5-5 in their last 10 games. Grumblings have started to leak from various players about their role in the playing rotation and how the team is currently playing.
It appears the players, coaches and front office aren't on the same page despite the talented and deep roster shown on paper. According to Stein, the differences of opinion throughout the organization could spur a coaching change in the offseason:
But Del Negro's well-chronicled desire for the Clips to trade for Boston's Kevin Garnett in February, coupled with his bosses' well-chronicled reluctance to part with both Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan in a KG deal, has spawned the impression of competing agendas behind closed doors in Clipperland. It's also undeniably worrisome for Del Negro that, according to sources, Stan Van Gundy's availability already has the Clippers highly intrigued.
Van Gundy and his no-nonsense approach would certainly change the culture of the current Clippers team, but his success would depend on getting the young, talented egos on the roster to buy into his system that relies more on "team" than "me" to deliver wins. That may also require moving a player or two who is looking for a bigger role, which isn't available on the current roster.
Meanwhile, the Clippers remain locked in the No. 4 spot in the West with a chance to pull together for a playoff push that could alter any offseason plans currently under consideration.