Ric Bucher's post on Basketball | Latest updates on Sulia
A tantalizing candidate to be the Clippers' next head coach posited by one NBA executive if the team would like to
maximize its chances of Chris Paul re-signing with the franchise: Chauncey Billups. I can't tell you if Billups is interested in retiring as a player at this point, or even if being a head coach is what he wants to do next, but he certainly knows the game well enough, has long held unusual authority among his peers on the court and in the locker room. Then there's this: no one is closer on that team than Paul and Billups. I also know that Paul's control of the franchise, by virtue of the fact the Clippers will do anything to keep him, is nearly absolute. As for the current head coach, Vinny Del Negro, the consensus around the NBA is that this first-round ouster is almost certain to cost him his job. There are plenty of contributing factors that led to their demise that Del Negro couldn't control -- Billups' Achilles tendon issues, Blake Griffin's high ankle sprain, to name two -- but owner Donald Sterling simply invested too much in this team to be out of the postseason already. If Del Negro stays, it's because Paul wants him to stay and I haven't heard from anyone that Paul is willing to go to bat for Del Negro in that way. I only hope that over the next few months Paul doesn't feign that he will have nothing to do with who gets the job next or del Negro not being retained. The only way that could be true is if he tells the Clippers definitively that he is not coming back; otherwise, they are assuredly going to be highly interested in who Paul thinks should run the team.