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Del Negro's future still unclear with Clippers

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 6, 2013 at 6:11 pm •  Published: May 6, 2013
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"I feel very confident," Sacks said. "I think he is an integral part of this, and we feel like we had a great partnership for the last couple of years, and we want to continue it. These are decisions that have to be made, and some of them will be taken care of at the appropriate time. We can't talk to him until July 1, so we'll go ahead and do that. We'll move forward when it's appropriate."

Griffin and Paul have both been publicly supportive of Del Negro, and Sacks acknowledged that the players' opinions should be part of the decision on Del Negro.

"I don't think there's anything necessarily we need to know (about Del Negro) that we don't already know," Sacks said. "But I think it's just getting together and seeing what vision we have together, and where we are as an organization."

If Del Negro isn't retained, he would be just the second coach to leave the Clippers with a winning record, joining Larry Brown in 1993.

"I enjoy working with (Paul and Griffin)," Del Negro said. "They're great guys, and they're incredibly talented. They're the nucleus of the team, obviously, that you want to keep intact and move forward with."

The Clippers had just six winning seasons in their first 41 years of existence, but they've put together consecutive winning records and playoff appearances for the first time in 20 years. Paul, Griffin and Del Negro also have turned the Clippers into one of the NBA's most exciting teams, with acrobatic dunks and dazzling playmaking skills on display almost every night at Staples Center.

"I think Coach did a great job," said forward Matt Barnes, who had the best season of his well-traveled NBA career.

"People don't understand, it's hard to manage people like us — young, and people that have money and egos, and family in their ear and friends in their ears," Barnes added. "For a coach to put all that on one page and get everyone to go for the same goal, and really with a new team to do it so fast, you've really got to take your hat off to him. There were things said about this and that, but every time you play or coach in L.A., you're going to be in a fishbowl. I think Vinny did a great job of managing the egos and taking this team to a new level."