When you type coach-killer into Google Images, Deron Williams' image is the first one to pop up. The muffled screams of Jerry Sloan, Avery Johnson and P.J. Carlesimo can allegedly be heard beneath the cement in Williams' basement. Dwight Howard is second. Conversely, Clippers point guard Chris Paul is considered the ultimate teammate. He's selfless, a great leader, doesn't shift blame and he'll even assist you with your home and car insurance. The difference between first-degree murder and manslaughter embodies the difference between Paul and Williams' sullied reputation. Essentially, first-degree is premeditated. Manslaughter is accidental.
However in an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show this week, his former coach Vinny Del Negro popped off about his belief that Paul was an accomplice in Donald Sterlings' abrupt decision not to offer him a contract extension. After the season, Sterling flipped on Paul and told the L.A. Times the decision was made to protect their "special" players.
"Well, Chris is a free agent," Del Negro said. "They were compelled to make a decision. He's entitled to his opinion. He's a free agent and he's going to have a lot of say on a lot of things as he did in the previous summer when we put the team together."
Del Negro also told Mike And Mike that organizations, which allow stars to have that much influence rarely succeed in the long-term. After his media blitz, however, Paul has had enough of getting thrown in the same conversation as Williams.
Chris Paul is upset with the Los Angeles Clippers organization because he is being widely blamed for the firing of Vinny Del Negro as coach, according to a source close to the situation.
How much of an impact this will have on Paul's decision to re-sign with the Clippers as a free agent is not clear, but the source conceded that Paul's anger could lead him to look elsewhere.
"He's angry right now and his anger is directed toward the Clippers organization," the source said. "Chris is a man of principle and if he feels like you've gone against his principles, it will affect how he feels about you. Hes very agitated that his name has been put out there as the reason for Vinny's firing. He had nothing to do with it."
Even a court-appointed attorney could get Paul off not-guilty off a technicality. Why? Because Del Negro wasn't fired. His contract just wasn't renewed. However, that hasn't stopped Paul from getting upset about the accusations levied against him. For eight years he's distinguished himself from Deron Williams as an affable superstar, with the occasional lapse in character.
Paul's role in Del Negro's firing is equivalent to what Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer did (or didn't do) to land themselves behind bars on the series finale of Seinfeld. In "The Finale", the quartet was arrested and charged with a violation of their "duty to rescue" for doing nothing while recording a man getting carjacked. It's called the Good Samaritan Law.
In the Clippers case, unless Paul was captain of the Clippers' Do Nothing Crew, but Blake Griffin, Eric Bledsoe, Chauncey Billups and Jamal Crawford were right by his side witnessing Del Negro get jacked of another season at the helm. DeAndre Jordan has no alibi.
Paul may not have been directly responsible for Del Negro's fate, but he and his teammates' collective reticence to support Del Negro may have been the dagger. If Paul wanted Del Negro to return, he would have spoken up for him. Peep Kyrie Irving's reaction to the firing of Paul's former(and potentially future) head coach Byron Scott. Scott hasn't won nearly half the games Del Negro has, but he had Irving ready to stage a hunger strike over his firing. Paul wants a coach with more clout and better X's and O's acumen. So should Clipper fans. Del Negro wasn't that guy. Paul isn't a saint, but he's also not a coach killer.