Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Thought of Larry Brown Running and Coaching the Clippers Makes Me All Tingly

So the Los Angeles Clippers finally severed ties with Mike Dunleavy last night. Severed is the right word since, well, that's how the Clips describe it on their own press release.

ESPN LA's Ramona Shelburne hits it right on the nose: this was a message to Clippers fans. Yes, we've heard your complaints. Please don't leave us.

I've been attending Clippers games for a few years and the venom for Dunleavy was palpable. During last year's home finale (where the Clips were trounced by 41 points) he earned two quick technicals and got the hell out of Dodge City. Well, the fans didn't take this kindly and showered the arena with boos -- all directed toward the coward Dunleavy. It was a season's worth of angst for a man who didn't do nearly enough to deserve the power he held.

But now the dust settles on another lackluster season the question remain: what will the front office and coaching staff look like next year? Interim GM Neil Oshley and interim head coach Kim Hughes (who took over for Dunleavy last month) are no guarantees to return.

SI's Frank Hughes brings up an intriguing candidate to both jobs. Larry Brown has supposedly inquired about running the franchise. With the Charlotte Bobcats bringing in a new ownership group perhaps Brown sees the writing on the wall (even with UNC great Michael Jordan on board) and wishes to return to LA where he coached the Clippers to the playoffs in '92 and '93. The Browns also own a home in Malibu and his wife wishes to return to LA.

I've previously written about my fondness for Larry Brown. He's obviously an amazing coach and a bit of diva. EXACTLY what the Clips need. Excellence and pizazz. If Brown chooses to come back to the west coast he would inherent an intriguing team. Chris Kaman, (a hopefully healthy) Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon and Baron Davis form a solid nucleus. The Clips could overpay for Rudy Gay or draft Kentucky's Patrick Patterson to fill the hole at small forward. Or perhaps could the lure of playing in LA for Larry Brown but enough to entice one LeBron James? Probably not, but even without LeBron this team on paper is good enough to make the playoffs.

It's interesting that Brown is the one who took the initiative and reached out for the Clippers gig. Larry is notorious for being a nomadic coach who switches teams every few years. Perhaps he's going going, back back, to Cali Cali. And that would be B.I.G.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A Quick Thought on Donald Fehr

Thank goodness baseball is here. And while there will be plenty written about players and teams throughout the next several months (hell, even I might muster the strength to write about the Mariners once in a while) I've been thinking about something, or rather someone who was instrumental off the diamond.

This is the first full season since 1984 where Donald Fehr will not be the executive director of the MLBPA. And while his tenure was far from perfect (1994 strike comes to mind) no one can say he didn't excel at his job. Here are some of the benefits Fehr negotiated for his union:

* fully guaranteed salary
* $400,000 minimum league salary
* no salary restrictions on amateur and international drafts
* no salary or yearly restrictions on player salary
* no hard salary cap
* no steroid testing until the early-2000s

NBA and NFL players are scratching and clawing for whatever leverage they can gain in the face of looming work stoppages. Meanwhile baseball players flourished under Fehr's reign. Maybe he didn't always do things in the best interest of baseball but you can't knock the man for not doing his job.