Los Angeles Clippers management took full responsibility for the firing of Vinny Del Negro in a response to reports that coveted free agent point guard Chris Paul was upset with owner Donald Sterling's comments indicating the move was made to appease Paul.
Clippers vice president of basketball operations, Gary Sacks, addressed the firing and the criteria the organization used to make their decision, according to a report from ESPN.com's Kevin Arnovitz:
"The decision not to extend a contract to Vinny Del Negro was an organizational decision from the top down," Clippers vice president of basketball operations Gary Sacks said. "Our front office evaluated the season and Vinny's three years here before making this move, and our conclusion and feeling was that we needed a change."
These comments stand in contrast to Sterling's words following the firing about having to make the players happy if you want to win in the NBA. Paul reportedly felt the guilt by association from Sterling's assessment since he is the primary free agent the Clippers want to make happy this offseason.
While the Clippers try to set the record straight, SB Nation's Clips Nation wades through the over-analysis of comments and sources to lend some perspective to what could be a long June for Clippers' fans before Chris Paul's situation is resolved:
But the truth is that Sterling's comments weren't really that bad -- Simers of course put words in his mouth, and DTS wasn't savvy enough to spit them out, but that's more or less what you would expect in this situation. But if "Chris Paul is mad at the Clippers organization" in reality has a genesis of "Chris Paul is mad that Donald Sterling said something insensitive" then is this really news?
Before Del Negro was fired, Paul had one and only one reason not to sign with the Clippers: because Sterling is a bad owner. This massive new problem doesn't change the calculus one iota. Sterling is still a bad owner, and the things he said to Simers don't come close to making his bad owner Top 10.
Fortunately for the Clippers, they have the advantage of offering Paul the most lucrative offer on the free agent market with an additional fifth year worth over $20 million. Surely that type of offer won't upset the elite point guard.