So Mike Dunleavy’s the winningest coach in franchise history with a record of 215 wins against 325 losses in seven years as the Los Angeles Clippers head coach. Looks more like he’s the losingest.
Dunleavy stepped down earlier today as the Clippers head coach after a promising eight game road-trip crashed and burned. Hoping to win enough of the eight to give the Clips a shot at reaching the .500 mark by this month’s All-Star Game in Dallas, Los Angeles’ other team finds themselves seven games under .500 falling to 12th in the Western Conference.
Dunleavy’s resignation had to happen after the Clippers lost to the two worst teams in the league during the just completed road-trip, at New Jersey and at Minnesota, in back-to-back games by a combined 30 points. There’s no excuse for that with a team that has playoff talent even without number one overall draft pick Blake Griffin who’s out for the season with a broken knee-cap. You’ve got one of the four best centers in the league in Chris Kaman, one of the league’s best defensive players in forward Marcus Camby and the starting guard tandem is truly one of the better ones barring injury with second year guard Eric Gordon (who’s had problems keeping clear of those lately) and Baron Davis. Throw in Al Thorton or Rasual Butler at the other forward and that’s a playoff starting five.
Assistant Kim Hughes will take over as interim head coach for the remaining 32 regular season games while Dunleavy retains his position as the teams general manager.
Although highly unlikely, making the playoffs still isn’t out of reach for the Clippers. They’ll need to string some wins together for a shot at it. However, it looks more like another trip to the draft lottery. They have plenty of cap space to go after a marquee free agent next year with some believing even Cleveland’s LeBron James might make his way to the Clippers. For that to happen, they’ll need to dump more salaries for more space to entice LeBron to make the leap. So, look for GM Dunleavy to trade Marcus Camby, who’s in high demand by other teams, to a contender by the February 18th trade deadline.
As far as possible head coaching candidates for the Clips, how about Byron Scott. He’s available after being canned by New Orleans earlier in the season. Makes plenty of sense to get the former NBA coach of the year. He played in L.A. with the Lakers during the Showtime Era of the 1980’s. Many think he’s the successor to Phil Jackson on the Lakers bench. I think the Lakers will promote from within, naming either assistant Jim Cleamons or Brian Shaw head coach, to keep that “Triangle Offense” going after the Zen Master rides off into the Montana Sunset for good.
How about former Clippers guard Sam Cassell, who has openly campaigned to be the Clippers head coach. I think that could be a good move. He’s a former player a few of the current Clips have played with, including the 2006 team that came within a win of the Western Conference Finals. Yeah, the Clippers were just five wins from making the NBA Finals just four seasons ago.
Interesting to see who GM Dunleavy and owner Donald Sterling tab as the new coach to guide the Clippers, with the healthy Blake Griffin, beginning next season. In the meantime, Donald. You really ought to think about what KNBC 4 Sports Director Fred Roggin suggested a few weeks back. Change the name of the team, the colors and uniforms and start over. The “Clippers Curse” thing just won’t go away.
-ESPN.com’s Shelley Smith is reporting that 13 year-old quarterback David Sills accepted a scholarship offer from USC football coach Lane Kiffin.
-YES! I said 13 year-old!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!
-Sills plays for Red Lion Christian Academy in Bear, Delaware. RLCA was in Los Angeles this past November for a couple of games and, obviously, caught the eye of some college scouts. WHAT??
-Get ready for a big announcement regarding Los Angeles and the NFL the week after Super Bowl 44. Let’s just say, L.A.’s ready for some pro football AGAIN….FINALLY!!
Answer to trivia question: Before Miami last week, which main-land city was the last to host a Pro Bowl Game? Los Angeles, 1979. The NFC won 13-7 at the Memorial Coliseum.
It was only a matter of time. But, if they start from scartch, they will finally have their own identity.