“We’ve set every franchise record,” Del Negro said two weeks ago. “So, I’m proud of a lot of things we did.”
Much of the credit for the dramatic turnaround went to Paul and Griffin. Del Negro was criticized at times this season for his rotations, and there was speculation about whether he would return.
Paul and Griffin have been supportive of their coach, and two weeks ago Sacks acknowledged that the players’ opinions would be part of the decision on Del Negro.
“I think Vinny did a great job of managing the egos and taking this team to a new level,” veteran Matt Barnes said after his exit interview at the end of the season.
Del Negro had said he enjoyed working with Paul and Griffin.
“They’re the nucleus of the team, obviously, that you want to keep intact and move forward with,” he said.
Sacks made it clear that the team’s top priority is to re-sign Paul, who becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1. He could receive a five-year, $108 million deal.
Del Negro came to the Clippers from the Chicago Bulls, where the 46-year-old coach went 82-82 in two seasons including back-to-back playoff appearances before being fired.
Before that, Del Negro had front-office roles with Phoenix from 2006-08. He previously worked as a broadcaster for the Suns and San Antonio. He played in the NBA for 12 years.