Los Angeles Clippers not retaining Vinny Del Negro

The Los Angeles Clippers will not offer Vinny Del Negro a new contract to return as coach, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Despite considerable success and progress in his two seasons as coach, Del Negro was unable to withstand a first-round Western Conference loss to the Memphis Grizzlies and a free agent-to-be superstar, Chris Paul, who wanted a different coach, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. Del Negro did not have a contract beyond this season.

Del Negro was informed of the decision on Tuesday afternoon.

Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins – who will be a free agent at season's end – is a candidate for the job, league sources said. Another possible target, Stan Van Gundy, has said that he plans to sit out next season. Golden State assistant Mike Malone – who worked with Paul in New Orleans – could be a candidate too, sources said.

There had been some belief that owner Donald Sterling – who has been fond of Del Negro – would decide to keep the coach, but ultimately the Clippers needed to do everything they believed necessary to re-sign Paul in July.

Under Del Negro, the Clippers won their first Pacific Division title this season and advanced to the Western Conference semifinals in the 2011-12 season. Del Negro led the Clippers to a franchise-record 17-game winning streak this season.

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