SA Spurs: Vinny Del Negro up for Portland assistant job
Last night, it was announced that former San Antonio Spurs guard Vinny Del Negro is a candidate for the lead assistant coaching job under Chauncey Billups with the Portland Trailblazers.
Vinny Del Negro played with the Spurs from 1992 to 1998 as the team's starting shooting guard. He was a particularly important part of the team in the 1994-'95 and 1995-'96 seasons in the team's two deepest playoff runs prior to their first championship.
After his time playing in the NBA, Del Negro served as the head coach for the Chicago Bulls from 2008 to 2010. After his dismissal from the Bulls, he was hired as the Los Angeles Clippers head coach shortly after. In his three seasons with the Clippers, while he was able to lead the team to a decent amount of success in the regular season, his postseason campaigns were largely unsuccessful. He has not coached with any other team since being released in 2013.
It is now rumored that Del Negro is one of the lead candidates to become Billups' lead assistant coach in Portland. Neil Olshey (the current general manager of the Portland Trailblazers) served as the Los Angeles Clippers general manager for two of Del Negro's three seasons with the team.
This news comes around the same time as the firestorm surrounding the Trailblazers and their handling of Becky Hammon's interview process. The Trailblazers obviously handled the hiring of now-Head Coach Billups incredibly poorly, having to throw Hammon under the proverbial bus to justify the hiring of someone currently shrouded in controversy.
For Del Negro, we can only wish him the best of luck in his candidacy and hope that, if he's hired, he'll see more success than when he served as head coach in Chicago and Los Angeles. After all, Del Negro will go down as one of the best players in Spurs history.