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Clippers considering Del Negro's future with team

The SportsXchange

The Los Angeles Clippers plan to spend a week evaluating coach Vinnie Del Negro before making a decision on his future with the team, according to ESPN Los Angeles.

The Clippers won 56 games in the regular season but were ousted from the Western Conference playoffs by the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday.

Clippers sources told ESPN Los Angeles that several factors will be considered in judging Del Negro, who is in the last year of his contract.

"At the end of the day we got beat," one team source said. "So you have to look at it in the light of day and figure out why, and how we can get better."

Phil Jackson's name has been brought up as a possible coaching candidate but another team source said that is unlikely because of his relationship with cross-town Los Angeles Lakers executive Jeanie Buss.

"It would just be too creepy," the source said.

The team's biggest priority this summer, however, is point guard Chris Paul, who will be an unrestricted free agent July 1.

"I got a lot of time to think about that," Paul said after Friday's game. "As I do with any decision I make, I consult with my wife, my parents, my brother, my family. I might even let little Chris chime in on this. We'll see what happens."

He will be eligible to sign a five-year, $108 million contract extension after July 1. He previously rejected a three-year, $60 million extension last year.

The Clippers have $45 million committed to players next season and -- along with Paul -- Matt Barnes, Chauncey Billups, Ryan Hollins, Lamar Odom and Ronny Turiaf will all be free agents. Grant Hill is due $2 million next season, but he might retirement.

Backup point guard Eric Bledsoe can sign a contract extension, but the decision to keep him or not may be tied to whether or not the team signs Paul.
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