Dunleavy, Los Angeles Clippers sever ties
Now that arrangement is over, with the team announcing his departure in an e-mailed statement. Assistant general manager Neil Olshey will take over Dunleavy’s job.
“The team has simply not made sufficient progress during Dunleavy’s seven-year tenure,” the statement said. “The Clippers want to win now. This transition, in conjunction with a full commitment to dedicate unlimited resources, is designed to accomplish that objective.”
At the time, Dunleavy said, “I thought, ‘It’s time for me to give somebody else a shot, you’re burnt out on this.”’
After the Clippers lost 113-87 in Orlando on Tuesday night, they are 12th in the Western Conference standings with a 25-39 record.
Players were notified of the decision during interim coach Kim Hughes’ postgame speech.
“At this point, nothing surprises me,” point guard Baron Davis said. “We’re moving in a different direction. We’ve been on the road, so there’s not much that we know. You all found out before we did.”
Dunleavy stepped down as coach Feb. 4. He was replaced by Hughes, then an assistant.
“I thought Mike was going to focus on being the GM and that’s what I thought was going to be the course of event. I’m a little bit shocked it occurred,” Hughes said. “I’m certainly disappointed for Mike.”
Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said after the game he always respected Dunleavy as a coach and thought it was unfair to pin the blame solely on Dunleavy given the Clippers’ losing history.
“It’s just hard to comment on anything another organization does because you don’t know why or how, and multiply that about 10 with the Clippers,” Van Gundy said, drawing laughs.
“No knock on Kim or anybody else, but they haven’t exactly taken off since the coaching change,” Van Gundy added.
Olshey had been serving as assistant GM since before the 2008-09 season. Previously, he was director of player development, assistant coach and director of player personnel.
The team said he played an important role in several transactions, including deals that brought Marcus Camby, Rasual Butler, Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw and Drew Gooden to the Clippers. Olshey also was part of the planning for the team’s last four NBA drafts, including obtaining Blake Griffin as the No. 1 overall pick last season.
Griffin has missed this season because of injury.
The move comes with the Clippers having significant salary cap space in hopes of luring a top free agent this summer, an effort center Chris Kaman applauded.
“I think that whoever’s decision it was to get rid of all that money, they did a good job doing it,” Kaman said. “They left a lot of space for next year and can go after a big-time player. That was kind of the goal.”
In 6 1/2 seasons as coach, Dunleavy was 215-325, and Los Angeles made the playoffs just once in his first six seasons, getting within one game of the Western Conference finals in 2006. The Clippers haven’t been back to the playoffs since, winning just 42 games in the past two seasons.
Last month, Dunleavy said, “I wanted to stay with this organization, see things through, one way or the other. I would have rather done it as a successful coach, but on the other hand, I can see ahead. It was going to be a tough struggle all the way through.”