Ted Green: Clippers have spoken -- fire Mike Dunleavy
In their final, fitting ode to a season of futility, despair and disrepair that was stunning by even their well-established standards, the Clippers apparently hung out quite a sign to owner Donald Sterling on Wednesday night.
The sign said: FIX US, WE'RE BROKEN.
Turn it over, I suspect it also said: PLEASE FIRE DUNLEAVY.
I mean, how do you lose by 41 points at home unless you simply don't care?
And how do you lose by 41 points at home to the Oklahoma City Thunder, whoever they may be?
But more to the point, what does losing by 41 at home to a team only nominally better than they are say about the Clippers' effort, pride and professionalism, which all had to be almost nonexistent? And what did it also say about the players' seeming desire to send a loud and clear message to Sterling that Dunleavy's time and tenure in the dual role as GM-Coach is obviously and irrevocably up.
The Clippers did everything to let Sterling know how they feel about their rigid coach short of having Donald Trump actually give Dunleavy the news himself.
A booing home crowd in a regular-season finale does not usually bode well for any NBA coach's continued employment. Fans who actually paid to see the 126-85 debacle must have come through the Staples Center doors just to get out of the cold.
Dunleavy's current icy détente with new franchise frontman Baron Davis, after a full season of feuding that was far from subtle, would be enough to put most NBA coaches on the hot seat.
The pain Sterling famously feels when he is forced to pay guaranteed millions to departing employees kept Dunleavy on the job this season, but the $5-or-so million more Dunleavy is still owed under the sweetheart contract he was given a couple of years back has to pale compared to the millions more Sterling will surely lose if he dares to put this same inferior, desultory, unwatchable product on the floor again come fall.
-- Ted Green
Ted Green is a former sportswriter for the L.A. Times. He is currently Senior Sports Producer for KTLA Prime News
Photo: Mike Dunleavy and Baron Davis during a game early this month. Credit: Alex Gallardo/Los Angeles Times