30 days has September, April, June and November…All the rest…
Shnikees! June 1st is only three days away, and the conclave in Playa Vista (or Malibu, more likely) has yet to throw up the white smoke. Sterling isn’t moving on Del Negro’s contract until he has to, which isn’t exactly a vote of confidence, but it isn’t necessarily damning, either. There really wasn’t an advantage to deciding Del Negro’s fate much before today, as no available coach is likely to sign on with a team until he knows all the openings that are out there and where every team is going to pick in the draft. A job suddenly looks a little more enticing if Anthony Davis comes along with it, right?
Much more worrisome than the delay on the Del Negro decision is that GM Neil Olshey still doesn’t have a contract, despite being the guy largely responsible for the “culture change” surrounding the Clippers.
Old habits tend to die hard, and Sterling is still a guy who wants to avoid “overpaying” at all costs. He wants to let another team set the market and then decide whether or not to match the offer. It’s been his approach in free agency forever, and Olshey, working without a contract, is essentially a free agent.
Of course, that doesn’t justify what Sterling is doing with Olshey by any stretch of the imagination. In my mind, it’s rather idiotic that Olshey isn’t on contract. The Clippers could use a new coach for reasons we’ve discussed at length, but they could also use a little stability if they go that route. Roster turnover aside, how does it look to Chris Paul if Donald Sterling is the only familiar face in the front office?
For that reason alone, it would make sense for Sterling to pony up and bring back Olshey. He’s young, he knocked the rebuild/reload/contend process out of the park, and he’s undoubtedly the best person in the organization at handling the media. I don’t know the particulars, but I find it hard to believe that Olshey would turn down a great offer to remain home in Los Angeles with a young, top 8 team. He built this from the ground up. You don’t think he wants to see it through?
The Clippers were supposed to have turned the corner in this regard, so it’s sad to watch everyone go back to begging the scrooge to splurge a little. If Paul Allen offers Olshey a boatload of money — and that’s what Allen does — is Sterling willing to dig in his pockets and retain him?
More food for thought: does Olshey see the writing on the wall if Del Negro is brought back for another year? In a lot of ways, retaining Del Negro sends the message that Sterling is still painfully unaware of the ripple effect his actions cause. Passing up a chance for a championship aside, bringing back Del Negro would be a wasted opportunity to cater a bit to Paul (and to a lesser extent, Griffin) in a crucial contract year. Lose Paul, and where does this thing all go? You’d like to think the Clippers would do everything they could to keep one of the best point guards ever. Does bringing back Del Negro really coincide with that line of thinking? Moreover, what does letting Olshey go to Portland say?
Donald Sterling has gone on record in the past as saying that he wants to keep Chris Paul and Blake Griffin “for a lifetime.”
Now it’s time for him to prove it.