ALERT- With the draft 2 days away, the Clippers still haven't yet named Olshey's replacement. Tony DiLeo, the vice president of basketball operations for the Philadelphia 76ers, is among the latest to have spoken with team president Andy Roeser about the gig. Mark Warkentien, Jim Paxson, Jeff Weltman, John Nash, and Scott Perry are also reportedly in the mix. David Griffin has reportedly removed himself from consideration. But all of these conversations have been by phone. If they were serious about any of these guys they would have met with them face to face.
According to reports, ex-Nuggets GM Kiki Vandeweghe is the only candidate who has had a formal interview. According to the New York Daily News and many other sources, Vandeweghe is considered to be the front-runner.
The clock is ticking with so much to get done.
Could the Clippers be promoting from within and giving the job to Gary Sacks, who is the current Director of Player Personnel and reportedly a friend of Sam Goldfeder, the agent for Blake Griffin? There isn't a lot posted about Sack's background other than he used to be a scout for the Clippers. So why would they pick Gary over somebody more qualified and with experience? Money. Gary will likely work for a much lower rate. And he is already in house and familiar with the Clippers and their players. No to mention they might try to do to him what they did to Niel Olshey, let him work without a contract for chump change.
If geography had anything to do with it, Kiki Vandeweghe would already be our GM. He was a college star at UCLA. He played his final season in the NBA with the Clippers. Last season he roamed the sidelines of Clipper games as a TV commentator for Prime Ticket/Fox Sports. He recently purchased a new estate in Encino so he certainly has a short drive to the Clippers front office. Moreover, he is leading the vote in the latest CTB poll and the fans here rarely get anything wrong. So the Clippers are going to have to look around and past Kiki to hire somebody else.
So far, Kiki is the only subject of speculation as to who is the Clippers top candidate for the job. And why not? He was a star player in college at UCLA, an two time All Star player in the NBA with 20ppg while shooting 53%, an NBA TV commentator, and has extensive experience as a GM and a coach in the NBA as well. He had front office or coaching positions with Dallas, New Jersey, and Denver. He has done it all. Most importantly, he has a high profile, and would presumably be able to relate to the players and foster good relationships with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
He should be able to at least match Olshey's abilities in managing the front office, the coaches, the players, and the press. You could make the argument that he is the perfect guy for the job. But nothing is done overnight, and the Clippers usually work in silence giving little hint as what they are thinking. Soon, we will hear about who they are interviewing, you just can't keep a lid on that. Or maybe they just hire Kiki, without going through a long drawn out process. The Clippers need to make a bold move and make it quickly. Going through a long process interviewing second tier candidates in my view is just a waste of valuable time. They need to focus on the top 2 or 3 guys and get it done.
Reports are that they will make the announcement before the Free Agent signing period begins on July 8.
aka Don Allen