LOS ANGELES » The Los Angeles Clippers reached an agreement in principle with Vinny Del Negro to become the team’s 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. Though he got Chicago back on track after a poor start last season, he feuded with team president John Paxson, and the two had a postgame altercation on March 30.
Mike Dunleavy quit as Clippers coach in early February to focus exclusively on his general manager duties, then he and the team severed ties completely on March 8. His assistant, Kim Hughes, finished the season as interim coach before being dismissed on April 15.
The Clippers had a 29-53 record last season, missing the playoffs for the 15th time in 17 years.
Questions surrounding Nuggets
Kenyon Martin says he has no timetable for his return from his latest knee operation.
The Denver Nuggets forward spoke briefly after arriving at his basketball camp in the Rocky Mountains yesterday. In his first public comments since his latest operation, Martin told the Associated Press his surgically repaired left knee was feeling better but that he had no idea when he’ll hit the NBA hardcourt again.
A bigger question mark facing the Nuggets this summer is whether All-Star Carmelo Anthony will sign a three-year, $65 million extension that’s been on the table for weeks.
Anthony, who is getting married this month, hasn’t indicated one way or another what he’ll do, although he has said he’d like the Nuggets to add some pieces to help him make a run at a title. Denver was unable to trade back into the draft last month to select another big man to go with the talented but oft-injured trio of Martin, Nene and Chris "Birdman" Andersen.
If Anthony spurns the Nuggets’ offer, they might have to consider trading him to avoid losing him for nothing in a year, when he would be the headliner of the 2011 free agent class.
Pistons sign top pick Monroe
The Detroit Pistons signed first-round draft pick Greg Monroe, the seventh overall selection in the NBA Draft. The 6-foot-11 Monroe averaged 16.1 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 34 games as a sophomore for Georgetown last season.
Magic get their man in Duhon
The Orlando 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 yesterday. Duhon reached an agreement with the Magic for a $15 million, four-year deal, his agent said. Teams can’t officially sign free agents until tomorrow.