Clippers: Del Negro's Exit "Best Decision for Our Franchise Moving Forward"

LA had the NBA's second-best record at the end of December, but the Clippers were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs

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    Former Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro

    Vinny Del Negro is out as the Clippers head coach Tuesday after one of the franchise's best seasons ended with a first-round playoff exit, according to a news release from the team.

    Del Negro's contract with the team was set to expire this year. The team won a franchise-high 56 games last season on its way to the Pacific Division title, but the organization opted not to renew the third-year coach's contract.

    The Clippers' season ended in Game 6 of the first round of the Western Conference playoffs against Memphis.

    "We would like to thank Vinny for everything he did during his three years with the organization," Clippers vice president of basketball operations Gary Sacks said. "Vinny helped this team win a Pacific Division title and we greatly appreciate all that he and his staff helped us accomplish. This was a difficult decision, but we feel this is the best decision for our franchise moving forward."

    LA had the NBA's second-best record at the end of December after a franchise-best 17-game win streak. The Clippers took a 2-0 lead over Memphis to open the playoffs, but dropped four consecutive games to the Grizzlies, including Game 6 when Clippers All-Star guard Chris Paul was ejected and Blake Griffin was limited by a sprained right ankle.

    LA lost in the conference semifinals during the 2011-2012 NBA season, marking only the third post-season appearance by the team since the 1993-1994 season.

    The team was 128-102 in three seasons under Del Negro.

    Del Negro's exit could be one of several key changes for the Clippers during the off-season. Paul is a coveted player on this summer's free-agent market.

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