The Los Angeles Clippers have narrowed their coaching search to two candidates — current Dallas assistant coach Dwane Casey and former Chicago head coach Vinny Del Negro, sources close to the situation said on Friday.
The most recent list circulating in the media included ESPN analyst Mark Jackson, former Minnesota coach and executive Kevin McHale, Utah assistant Tyrone Corbin and former Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Woodson. The Clippers also had conversations with Houston assistant Elston Turner two weeks ago.
By zeroing in on Casey and Del Negro, the Clippers have resurrected a rematch between the two finalists for the Bulls’ coaching vacancy during the spring of 2008. Del Negro ultimately landed the job in Chicago, where he strung together consecutive 41-41 seasons along with two first-round playoff appearances.
Casey compiled a record of 53-69 during his season-and-a-half tenure in Minnesota. He was fired midway through the 2006-07 season after the team split its first 40 games. After Casey’s dismissal, the Timberwolves finished 12-30 — never winning consecutive games under replacement Randy Wittman.
The Clippers fired interim head coach Kim Hughes the morning after finishing the season 8-25 under his direction. The organization’s traditional modus operandi with both free agents and available coaches is to monitor the market. True to form, the Clippers have been moving the process with deliberation — maintaining contact with their favored candidates while allowing other teams with vacancies to act first.
Interviews with Casey and Del Negro are being set up for early next week.
A more comprehensive narrative will be added to this report tomorrow. Casey and Del Negro are a fascinating contrast in style and biography.