Del Negro agrees to coach Clippers

Updated: July 7, 2010, 3:09 AM ET
By Kevin Arnovitz | ESPN.com

The Los Angeles Clippers have reached an agreement in principle with Vinny Del Negro to become the team's head coach.

The team said Tuesday night in an e-mail that more details would be announced Wednesday.

Del Negro was fired by the Chicago Bulls in May after going 82-82 in two seasons and making two postseason appearances.

Mike Dunleavy quit as Clippers coach in early February to focus exclusively on his general manager duties, then he and the team severed ties completely on March 8. His assistant, Kim Hughes, finished the season as interim coach before being dismissed on April 15.

The Clippers had a 29-53 record last season, missing the playoffs for the 15th time in 17 years. They were 8-33 on the road, their worst mark away from home since 1999-2000, when they went 5-36.

The Clippers brought in their finalists for interviews twice over the past two weeks. Along with Del Negro, the organization gave Dallas Mavericks assistant and former Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Dwane Casey a close look. Del Negro and Casey were the two finalists for the Chicago job two years ago. Again, on this occasion, Del Negro got the nod.

[+] EnlargeVinny Del Negro
Matt A. Brown/Icon SMIVinny Del Negro previously served as the Bulls' coach, and he had consecutive 41-41 seasons for Chicago before he was fired in May.

Prior to his stint on the Bulls' bench, Del Negro moved from the Suns' broadcast booth to spend two seasons in the Phoenix Suns' front office, first as director of player personnel and then as assistant general manager.

The Clippers are undergoing a rapid transformation both in the front office and in the locker room. General manager Neil Olshey will begin his first full season as the club's general manager. The team will feature at least three rookies -- 2009 No. 1 overall pick Blake Griffin, Wake Forest forward Al-Farouq Aminu and Kentucky guard Eric Bledsoe. The only two players on the current Clippers roster older than 21 are Baron Davis and Chris Kaman.

Olshey and team president Andy Roeser met with LeBron James in Cleveland last Friday. The Clippers are one of only a few NBA teams that have sufficient flexibility under the salary cap to offer a maximum contract to James or another marquee free agent. Widely considered long shots to land James or one of the other big names, the Clippers are more likely to proceed into the free-agency season with an eye toward building around their young core.

Kevin Arnovitz is an NBA contributor to ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

MORE NBA HEADLINES