The Clippers, off to an abysmal 1-10 start this season, have signed first-year coach Vinny Del Negro to an eight-year contract extension, the team revealed Monday.
The move to lock up Del Negro through 2023 was reportedly finalized following the Clippers’ 101-82 shellacking at the hands of the Hornets last week.
“In pro sports, contracts generally get extended after a coach establishes a proven track record. Not necessary here.” said Clippers GM Neil Olshey. “Eleven games was all we needed. We’ve won one God-forsaken game. This is our guy.”
Olshey cited the team’s –9.6 point differential, the “absence of a coherent defensive philosophy,” an offensive system plagued by confusion and disarray, and “horrific and baffling” late-game substitutions as sufficient grounds for the extension.
“He doesn’t know what he’s doing,” said Olshey, sounding upbeat. “He’s really tapped into that time-honored Clipper spirit. It’s a perfect match.”
Del Negro, fired by the Bulls last off-season and subsequently scooped up by the Clippers, has already come under fire for a series of tactical gaffes and managerial blunders– as was common throughout his tenure in Chicago.
A recent fourth quarter decision likely “sealed the deal” in the minds of Clippers’ brass, according to one team insider. With the Clippers down a point and eight seconds left in the game, Del Negro designed a play for seldom-used center DeAndre Jordan. Jordan meekly dribbled the ball off of his leg and out of bounds.
Facing a hostile media after the defeat, Del Negro claimed he’d been trying to “catch the defense off guard” and defended the move.
“Baron Davis. Blake Griffin. Eric Gordon. Chris Kaman. That’s a lot of potent offensive talent out on the floor right there,” Del Negro said at the time. “All great decoys.”
Financial details of the extension have yet to be disclosed, but a source with knowledge of the negotiations characterized the monetary package as “quite lucrative.” The source spoke on condition of anonymity because “I don’t want my family to know I work for the Clippers. They think I’m with the Lakers.”