Clippers' Del Negro focuses on staff
New Los Angeles Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said he's going to take his time filling out his coaching staff, but it's likely that former Portland assistant Dean Demopoulos and former Bulls assistant Dave Severns will join him on the Clippers bench this season.
Del Negro has also interviewed former Clippers assistants Fred Vinson and Kim Hughes, who served as the team's interim coach the final third of the season.
"With both Dean and Dave, I want to get a feel for them, make sure they're comfortable, make sure they like it here. So far it's gone really well," Del Negro said Friday after the Clippers summer league team had its morning practice in Playa Vista.
Demopoulos and Severns will coach the Clippers in the Las Vegas Summer League beginning Monday, though Del Negro will be close by at practices.
"I don't want to rush into anything, I want to be smart about it," Del Negro said. "But when you've got quality people you feel you work well with, that can contribute with this young core and are workers and know the game, obviously you want to keep those guys on your roster."
Del Negro said he planned to interview several other candidates while in Las Vegas before he made final decisions on his staff.
Hughes and Vinson had stayed on past the June 30 expiration of their contracts to work with some of the Clippers young players. Both have expressed a desire to stay on with the club, but say they are respectful of Del Negro's process.
"I thought we had a good interview," Hughes said of his interview with Del Negro. "But I know he's interviewing others and going through a process. It was the first time we'd ever really had an in-depth conversation. I liked his philosophy and what he had to say."
Ramona Shelburne is a columnist and reporter for ESPNLosAngeles.com