Point guard angered by suggestions he is to blame for former coach Vinny Del Negro’s exit.
According to an ESPN source, Chris Paul is “angry” with the Los Angeles Clippers after reports suggesting he is to blame for the firing of former coach Vinny Del Negro.
Despite leading the Clippers to 56 wins in the regular season, the most successful tally in franchise history, Del Negro was fired on May 21 after a disappointing playoff campaign.
The Clippers were eliminated in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs by the Memphis Grizzlies, leading to a change in the coaching spot and rumours of “player-power” within the organisation.
Franchise owner Donald Sterling implied in his press conference regarding the split with Del Negro that both Paul and Blake Griffin could possibly be blamed for the decision, citing “factors that make life very complicated and very challenging”.
The source revealed that any decision to fire Del Negro was in relation to his own failings, including his handling of the trade situation back in February where he reportedly went out and made calls without the front office.
They went on to add that neither Paul nor Griffin had anything to do with the decision, and the primary reason the ex-coach is no longer in charge is because of his inability to take the franchise where they want to go.
News of discontent comes at a very delicate time for the Clippers and their star point guard, with Paul set to become eligible for free agency on July 1.
Several ball clubs will be willing to offer him a maximum-salary contract, while the Clippers are able to offer him a five-year deal worth $108m.
Whether this falling-out has repercussions for Paul’s future in Los Angeles remains to be seen, but with interest sky-high in acquiring arguably the best point guard in the league, it promises to be a nervy summer for Clippers fans.