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Del Negro will coach Clippers

Associated Press / July 7, 2010

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The Los Angeles Clippers have reached an agreement in principle with Vinny Del Negro to become head coach.

The team said last night in an e-mail that more details would be announced today. Del Negro was fired by the Chicago Bulls in May after going 82-82 in two seasons and making two postseason appearances.

Mike Dunleavy quit as Clippers coach midway through last season and his assistant, Kim Hughes, finished the season as interim coach.

The Clippers had a 29-53 record last season, missing the playoffs for the 15th time in 17 years. They were 8-33 on the road, their worst mark away from home since 1999-2000, when they went 5-36.

Del Negro’s hiring comes with the Clippers having significant salary cap space in their attempt to lure free agent LeBron James from Cleveland.

With or without James, Del Negro will oversee a roster featuring Blake Griffin, last year’s No. 1 draft pick who got hurt and missed all of last season. Griffin will anchor a lineup that includes All-Star center Chris Kaman, former All-Star guard Baron Davis, and Eric Gordon. The Clippers recently drafted Al-Farouq Aminu of Wake Forest and Willie Warren of Oklahoma and traded for Eric Bledsoe of Kentucky.

Magic, Duhon agree
The Magic tried to sign Chris Duhon in free agency two years ago only to watch him go to New York. They finally got their man.

Duhon reached an agreement with the Magic for a $15 million, four-year deal, his agent said. Free agents can’t officially sign until tomorrow.

The Magic, over the luxury tax, will have little flexibility in free agency.

Lee, Nets talking
The agent for Knicks forward David Lee said the Nets have talked to him several times since free agency began. An official within the league said the team would also consider Jazz forward Carlos Boozer if James rejected the offer that was presented by new owner Mikhail Prokhorov and a management that included hip-hop mogul Jay-Z . . . The Pistons signed first-round pick Greg Monroe, who averaged 16.1 points and 9.6 rebounds as a sophomore at Georgetown.

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