Mike Dunleavy being let go from his duties as General Manager is obviously shocking. Poor Kim Hughes found out about it after the game through Dain Blanton, the sideline reporter for Fox Sports Prime Ticket. According to an agent that spoke with Adrian Wojnarowski, Dunleavy himself may have had no idea he was being released up until just recently. The whole move feels a bit impulsive. Early conclusions would lead one to believe this was fully a Sterling orchestrated firing, right down to it being announced during a game broadcast.
News of Dunleavy’s release leads to a bunch of questions that will soon be answered. What does this mean financially for Dunleavy and the Clippers? Was there some sort of buyout involved, or will Dunleavy get paid the full remainder of his contract? Does Donald Sterling have someone in mind to replace Dunleavy? Why do this now and not a month ago? Were Dunleavy’s trade deadline deals, where he seemingly improved the outlook for the Clippers’ future and netted Sterling a few million in the process, deemed “bad” moves by ownership?
Regardless of whether or not Dunleavy deserved to be let go for his performance as GM, one thing remains clear: This is a step in the right direction, and that has plenty more to do with Sterling than it does with Dunleavy. For years Sterling was reluctant to open up his wallet and build a winner. He wouldn’t sign free agents. He wouldn’t buy players or coaches out of contracts. He’d basically do nothing that didn’t make perfect sense financially for him. Well, this move doesn’t make a whole lot of sense financially for him, but Sterling did it anyway for what he believes to be the betterment of the franchise. That’s progress.
It will be interesting to see if the Clippers shy away from their follies of the past. Having one man be both Head Coach and General Manager clearly didn’t work out the first time, and though some will blame that solely on Dunleavy, it’s hard to argue that the sharing of those titles in today’s NBA is ideal.
We’ll have plenty of more reaction, analysis, and updates on this situation as more details unfold. Stay tuned.