However, to ensure the franchise retains its most valuable player, the front office should hire Byron Scott as its next head coach in light of a recent report that Paul is disgruntled.
ESPN's Chris Broussard broke news on Twitter that the Clippers have reached out to Scott about their sideline vacancy:
It was also Broussard who indicated that Paul is angry at the organization, because the perception in the media portrayed him as the primary culprit for Vinny Del Negro's firing this offseason. A source close to Paul said he had nothing to do with it.
Scott coached Paul with the New Orleans Hornets for five full seasons before being fired just nine games into his sixth year. That was in spite of winning 2008 Coach of the Year honors a little over a year before then.
The mentorship Scott provided from the very beginning of Paul's career keyed his development into the player he is today, and the two continue to have a strong relationship.
In all of Scott's previous stops, it has taken at least one season for his squads to gel and show significant improvement. It took him until his fourth year to get New Orleans to the playoffs. That ascension unfortunately didn't happen with the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he replaced another former Coach of the Year in Mike Brown, and Scott was let go.
Ironically, the 52-year-old coach was the starting shooting guard for the Lakers, and was a part of three of their championship teams during his playing days.
Considering the talent level the Clippers possess—assuming Paul stays, of course—it's feasible that Scott could come in and help them maintain their status as a perennial playoff team on paper.
Whether or not Paul was behind Del Negro's dismissal is difficult to discern, especially after this exchange between the Los Angeles Times' T.J. Simers and Clippers owner Donald Sterling:
TS: Was [firing Del Negro] done just to hang on to Chris Paul?
DS: I always want to be honest and not say anything that is not true. So I'd rather not say anything.
TS: Here you have two inexperienced people running your basketball operation in [GM] Gary Sacks and [son-in-law] Eric Miller. And [president] Andy Roeser doesn't have the greatest track record when it comes to basketball personnel decisions.
[...]Is this decision being made because the players are now calling the shots? Am I off base?
DS: No, you're not off base. This is a players' league, and, unfortunately, if you want to win you have to make the players happy.
Simers' colleague, Broderick Turner, reports Brian Shaw, Jeff Van Gundy, Alvin Gentry and even Jerry Sloan are also in preliminary talks to replace Del Negro.
But as Sterling highlights, it is a players' league. He essentially implies that Del Negro, despite leading the franchise to its best record in history, wasn't necessarily the one to guide the Clippers to the NBA's promised land.
Scott may not be the one, but if Sterling truly wants to live up to his testimony of appeasing his players—particularly Paul—bringing Scott into the fold, regardless of his recent failures in Cleveland, seems like the wisest move.
Note: Byron Scott's coaching history was obtained from Basketball-Reference.com.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!