When the Los Angeles Clippers decided not to re-sign head coach Vinny Del Negro at the end of the season, rumors emerged that free-agent-to-be Chris Paul was 'not a fan' of Del Negro and refused to back his head coach when it was time for a decision to be made. Paul is now reportedly "angry" with the Clippers for "putting his name out there" as a reason for Del Negro's departure, and he is denying that he or Blake Griffin had any involvement in the decision, according to a report from Chris Broussard of ESPN.
The franchise desperately wants to sign Paul to a new long-term deal this summer, so it's logical to assume that his opinion carries weight inside the organization. Del Negro and Paul never developed a great relationship during their time together, but Del Negro wasn't regarded as a coaching savant in NBA circles. In theory, the decision could have been based on any number of factors. That is until owner Donald Sterling flat-out told T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times when asked about player involvement in the Del Negro move: "This is a players' league, and unfortunately, if you want to win you have to make the players happy."
If Paul is truly angry with the organization, those comments from Sterling probably represent the proverbial smoking gun. The situation may not keep CP3 from re-signing with L.A. this summer, but for now, it seems he's angry that the decision regarding Del Negro has been pinned on him in the media.
The Clippers can offer Paul a five-year, $108 million contract -- more money and more years than any other team -- when he becomes a free agent on July 1.