Suddenly, everything is a whole lot clearer. Four teams were eliminated last night, and we’ve got just one more game in the first round of the playoffs. It’s tonight, between the Bulls and Nets, and the winner gets to face the Heat. So maybe not the best reward, but every team in the East knows they’ll have to go through the Heat if they want to reach the Finals.
Now here’s all the latest news from around the NBA:
- With the Clippers’ season now over, they may be another team riding the coaching carousel, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com: “Clippers sources insist no decision has been made on (Vinny) Del Negro yet and that this early playoff exit won’t be the only basis upon which he’s judged. The team won a franchise-record 56 games this season and Del Negro has always had a good relationship with the team’s ownership. The team is expected to take “about a week” to evaluate the season before making a decision on Del Negro, according to one source. Officially Del Negro’s contract runs a few more months, and the Clippers have been known to take their time with such matters — interim coach Kim Hughes famously worked several months after he was dismissed as interim head coach — but “that’s not going to happen this time,” the source said.”
- Ric Bucher of CSN Bay Area weighs in on the Clippers’ coaching situation: “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.”