Mike Dunleavy drops Clippers coaching duties, will remain GM; Kim Hughes named head coach
Hughes, a former ABA and NBA player who has never been a head coach, has been Dunleavy’s assistant since the start in Los Angeles. He spent several years on the Nuggets’ bench before joining the Clippers, and has been a scout in Denver and Milwaukee.
Dunleavy was 215-325 in 6 1/2 seasons on the bench, and Los Angeles made the playoffs just once in his first six seasons, getting within one game of the Western Conference finals in 2006. the Clippers haven’t been back to the playoffs since, winning just 42 games in the past two seasons.
Dunleavy played for Philadelphia, Houston, San Antonio and Milwaukee during his career, but the Brooklyn native’s entire coaching career has been downhill from his debut season with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1990-91, when he reached the NBA finals. after just two seasons with the Lakers, he coached four losing seasons in Milwaukee before a moderately successful four-season run with the Portland Trail Blazers.
After hiring Dunleavy in 2003, the much-criticized Sterling showed considerable patience, extending the coach’s contract through 2011 after that sole playoff run — and even sticking with him through the Clippers’ 19-63 misery of a 2008-09 season.
Dunleavy’s record as a personnel executive is actually fairly solid, which made his failures as the Clippers’ coach even more glaring. He replaced Elgin Baylor as the Clippers’ top basketball executive before last season, uprooting Baylor from a job he had held since 1986.
Despite adding Rasual Butler and Craig Smith to a well-stocked roster that still should have ample salary cap space to sign a major free agent this summer, the Clippers have struggled even to reach .500 this season.
“As we approach the trade deadline, the NBA draft and the upcoming free agent period, our team is very well-positioned from a salary cap standpoint,” Roeser said. “Mike’s experienced input will be vitally important as we continue to develop our young talented nucleus and shape our team’s future.”
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