In the wake of the Los Angeles Clippers dismissing Vinny Del Negro as their head coach, there has been speculation as to why a guy who set an organization record for wins and won its division would be given a pink slip. It’s not like the Clips’ tradition is like that of the other tenants at the Staples Center. When questioned about Del Negro’s firing, Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling made several statements. One of them was, “If you have special players, and special players think they know the best opportunity to win, you have to support them.”
Now, if there were a poll taken - of even the most casual basketball fans - as to which players on the Los Angeles Clippers roster would be considered “special,” Chris Paul would rank #1 (or #2 at the very worst). If Chris Paul was asked if he thought his skills would qualify him as “special,” you can bet he’d say he was in that category. If anyone wasn’t sure, just the fact that the Clips are about to offer CP3 a contract worth a total of $108 million is a hint and a half.
So, putting two and two together and coming up with four (we haven’t sunk that far in math as a country), the special player Sterling was talking about had to be Chris Paul. Yet, Paul is upset that he is being accused of such a deplorable - at worst, sneaky at best - act. Although he hasn’t spoken publicly, he has had “his camp” release a statement. Basically, CP3 is indignant that the organization would allow such negative remarks to be attributed to him.
His PR people have stated the following, “Chris is a man of principle and if he feels like you’ve gone against his principles, it will affect how he feels about you. He’s very agitated that his name has been put out there as the reason for Vinny’s firing. He had nothing to do with it.”
Oh, OK, maybe someone confused Chris with Cliff. Hey, if you want the ball, and you want the money, and you want the power, and you want the “nice guy” commercials - but you don’t want your coach - at least be a stand up guy. Coaches and players clash all the time - and in the NBA, everybody knows there are more coaches than superstars, making a team’s decision an easy one.
Sure, you can hire a PR firm to create an image of you and market the hell out of it. And you can always use your agent to deal with stuff you don’t want to. But it’s doubtful the Clippers would have fired Del Negro without at least consulting with Paul. So, if Chris had nothing to do with it, then don’t you wonder what his answer would be to the following question:
“If you had said you wanted Vinny back, wouldn’t he still be here?”