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  • 25 Jun
    LOS ANGELES -- Vinny Del Negro is out as coach of the Los Angeles Clippers after a season in which the team won its first division title but lost in the first round of the playoffs. The team said Tuesday he wont be offered a contract when his current one expires at the end of June. He is just the second coach to leave the team with a winning record, following Larry Brown in 1993. "This was a difficult decision, but we feel this is the best decision for our franchise moving forward," said Gary Sacks, vice-president of basketball operations. Del Negro had a 128-102 regular-season record in three years with the team. The Clippers made the playoffs the last two seasons, including last year when they advanced to the second round for only the second time since the franchise moved to Los Angeles in 1984. This season, the team won a franchise-record 56 games, including a 17-game winning streak. And with All-Stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the Clippers were one of the NBAs most exciting attractions, with acrobatic dunks and dazzling playmaking. But the post-season was quick and disappointing -- an exit in six games to Memphis despite a 2-0 lead. "We would like to thank Vinny for everything he did during his three years with the organization," Sacks said. "Vinny helped this team win a Pacific Division title and we greatly appreciate all that he and his staff helped us accomplish." The search for a new coach will begin immediately. Del Negro had the highest winning percentage (.557) for a coach in the clubs beleaguered history. He is the only coach to have consecutive winning seasons since the Buffalo Braves moved to California and became the Clippers in 1978. The Clippers had just six winning seasons in their first 41 years. Now theyve put together consecutive winning records and playoff appearances for the first time in 20 years. "Weve set every franchise record," Del Negro said two weeks ago. "So Im proud of a lot of things we did." Much of the credit for the dramatic turnaround went to Paul and Griffin. Del Negro was criticized at times this season for his rotations, and there was speculation about whether he would return. Paul and Griffin have been supportive of their coach, and two weeks ago Sacks acknowledged that the players opinions would be part of the decision on Del Negro. "I think Vinny did a great job of managing the egos and taking this team to a new level," veteran Matt Barnes said after his exit interview at the end of the season. Del Negro had said he enjoyed working with Paul and Griffin. "Theyre the nucleus of the team, obviously, that you want to keep intact and move forward with," he said. Sacks made it clear that the teams top priority is to re-sign Paul, who becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1. He could receive a five-year, $108 million deal. Del Negro came to the Clippers from the Chicago Bulls, where the 46-year-old coach went 82-82 in two seasons including back-to-back playoff appearances before being fired. Before that, Del Negro had front-office roles with Phoenix from 2006-08. He previously worked as a broadcaster for the Suns and San Antonio. He played in the NBA for 12 years. Cheap Nets Jerseys Authentic . In taking its goal tally to 99 in all competitions already this season, City delivered another demonstration of its lethal firepower at Etihad Stadium to set up a fourth-round match at home to another second-tier team -- Watford. Cheap Swingman Nets Jerseys .C. -- Al Jefferson joked that he feels he can score from anywhere on the court. http://www.cheapnetsjerseys.com/ . -- Peyton Manning will have all of his wide receivers available for the first time in a month when the Denver Broncos begin their playoff run Jan. Cheap NBA Jerseys .com) - The Montreal Canadiens will try to halt their longest losing streak of the season when they host the struggling New York Islanders in tonights clash at the Bell Centre. Cheap Nets Jerseys . At a news conference Tuesday where it was thought that the fiery Schallibaum may be shown the door after a dismal finish to the Major League Soccer season, team president Joey Saputo said no decision has been made on whether the Swiss Volcano will be back in 2014.JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Maurice Jones-Drew made good on his promise. The Jacksonville Jaguars running back said in June that he would be ready to go at the start of training camp. On Tuesday, two days before the Jaguars report to camp, coach Gus Bradley announced that Jones-Drew had been cleared by team doctors to start practice with his teammates on Friday. "Im extremely, extremely excited by the progress hes made. Hes been cleared by our training staff," Bradley said. "The biggest thing with us as a staff, is to be really smart with Maurice. Were going to have to bring him along slowly. Youll see him out there getting some reps but we want to make sure were smart with him and how fast we bring him back." Jones-Drew last practice with the team was the middle of October last year following the teams bye week. He suffered a fracture of his left foot, later diagnosed as a Lisfranc injury, on the first play from scrimmage against Oakland on October 21. He missed all of the Jaguars OTA practices and the teams minicamp for veterans in mid-June. But on the last day of the Jaguars minicamp, the NFLs leading rusher in 2011 said he would be ready when camp opened in late July. "Its been a long time coming. Im excited to get out there, run around and play," Jones-Drew said. "Not playing football for 10 months, you get out of football shape a little bit, but I feel like after a week or two Ill be able to get out there to do what I need to do to be ready." He wouldnt say what his weight is going into camp but said he would likely drop a little more once he starts practicing. "I dont need to drop much, but just a little bit more just so I get comfortable and get ready to play," he said. Last year he opened the season at 217 but said he would like to start the regular season this fall around 212 to 215. Despite being away from the game for the last 10 months, Jones-Drew said he hasnt changed since he last carried the ball for the Jaguars. "Im the same guy. Thats how Ive been training, like I wasnt hurt," he said. "I just cant wait to get back out there. "For me, not playing football for 10 months, not wearing pads, not having that soreness, thats the thing you want to get back and get used to. Other than that, everything else is naturall.dddddddddddd" Jones-Drew said the off-season incident at a St. Augustine restaurant is behind him. He allegedly hit a bouncer in the face at The Conch House Restaurant in late May. Jones-Drew was never officially charged. "It has been behind me. It was just an unfortunate situation that happened," he said. "Im just ready for football now. That was a hot story for a while, now its time to play football. Its a relief now that we can talk football." On the field the biggest unresolved position battle for the Jaguars remains at quarterback. Neither Blaine Gabbert nor Chad Henne distanced themselves from the other to claim the starting job. Bradley said its a wide open competition for the starting spot, one that hes looking forward to seeing how it plays out. "Im not going to get into how were going to do reps, but they will all be faced in the same situations," the first-year Jaguars coach said. "We have a plan in place as far as the quarterback situation. I know in Seattle we faced some of the same situations. Im trusting my gut along with the help of other coaches that when the time is right, well make that decision." The news on Jones-Drew overshadows the status of several other players who will start camp on the sidelines, including another offensive weapon for the Jaguars. Wide receiver Justin Blackmon had groin surgery following the teams last off-season workout in June. Bradley said the second-year receiver will be placed on PUP (physically unable to perform) when he reports to the team on Thursday. Blackmon needs the training camp practices and preseason games to help prepare for the month hell miss during the regular season. In late April, he was suspended for the first four games of the season after a second violation of the NFLs substance-abuse policy in less than a year. Three other players will also be withheld from the start of practice. Johnathan Cyprien, second-round draft pick in the spring who is projected as a starter at safety, is on the non-football injury list after suffering a strained hamstring during a workout in Miami last week. In addition, rookie guard Stephane Milhim (foot) will start on PUP and fourth-year receiver Taylor Price (foot) will be placed on PUP when he reports on Thursday. Cheap Jerseys China NFL Jerseys Cheap NBA Jerseys Wholesale NHL Jerseys Wholesale MLB Jerseys Cheap Soccer Jerseys China Wholesale NCAA Jerseys Wholesale Football Jerseys Wholesale Basketball Jerseys Wholesale Baseball Jerseys ' ' '