Mike Dunleavy’s Seat Getting Hot - NBC Southern California

Mike Dunleavy’s Seat Getting Hot

One one side, a 4-9 record and a fan petition to fire Dunleavy. On the other side, $11 million.



    Mike Dunleavy’s Seat Getting Hot
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    OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 06: Los Angeles Clippers head coach Mike Dunleavy argues a call during their game against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on November 6, 2009 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

    The Clippers may finally have gotten so bad that owner Donald Sterling is willing to eat some money to make a change. Maybe.

    The rumors that Clippers coach and general manager Mike Dunleavy is on the hot seat are gaining volume right now. Despite the fact that notoriously frugal owner Sterling would have to eat $11 million, he is apparently considering firing his coach. And the fans are doing their part — nearly 1,500 Clippers fans (and that number climbing fast) have signed a petition asking Sterling to fire Dunleavy.

    We do not want Mike Dunleavy to be the Clippers Coach. Please Mr. Donald Sterling and Mr. Andy Roeser I plead with you, please fire Mike Dunleavy or relieve him of his coaching duties. Look at the talent your team has, and look at their inability to have a productive offense and their lack of defense. The team looks wonderful on paper, yet their offensive sets are horrible and Mike's substitutions are even worse.

    We are lifelong fans of the Los Angeles Clippers. Win or lose, good or bad, right or wrong, we love the Los Angeles Clippers. We feel we speak for an entire city when we say that we are an organization of hard working fans, and hard working players who care passionately about our win/loss record. As fans we want out team to excel and perform to their highest ability.

    The Clippers are 46-131 since the summer of 2007, and that includes a 4-9 start to this season. And it is this season that has really lit a fire under fans — the Clippers came in selling hope, with top pick Blake Griffin, young star Eric Gordon, a slimmed down Baron Davis and a healthy Chris Kaman. Some pundits even had them making the playoffs.

    But that hope has been dashed. In part by injuries — Eric Gordon has been out and Blake Griffin has yet to see the floor. But the rest of the team continues to play sloppy basketball, turning the ball over, not playing good defense, not rebounding and getting out-hustled on a nightly basis. Other teams are stepping up without their stars — New Orleans has been without Chris Paul but beat the Clippers and the Suns. Los Angeles has just wilted. Again.

    Dunleavy has said in his defense that when this team is healthy it will win games. And the Clippers were 3-4 to start the season against a tough schedule, until Eric Gordon went down.

    But fans are not that patient. And it’s hard to blame them — as general manager, too, Dunleavy made the bed he is sleeping in.

    One option is for the Clippers to bump Dunleavy up to general manager only — he has put together a pretty good team on paper — and slide assistant coach Kim Hughes (or less likely, John Lucas) over to the big chair. That way Sterling gets some value for his $11 million, even if it creates and awkward working situation.

    Whatever it is, something needs to be done.