Dunleavy, Los Angeles Clippers sever ties

Mike Dunleavy and the Los Angeles Clippers parted company for

good Tuesday, barely a month after he relinquished his head

coaching duties to focus solely on being general manager.

Now that arrangement is over, with the team announcing his

departure in an e-mailed statement. Assistant general manager Neil

Olshey will take over Dunleavy’s job.

“The team has simply not made sufficient progress during

Dunleavy’s seven-year tenure,” the statement said. “The Clippers

want to win now. This transition, in conjunction with a full

commitment to dedicate unlimited resources, is designed to

accomplish that objective.”

At the time, Dunleavy said, “I thought, ‘It’s time for me to

give somebody else a shot, you’re burnt out on this.”’

After the Clippers lost 113-87 in Orlando on Tuesday night, they

are 12th in the Western Conference standings with a 25-39

record.

Players were notified of the decision during interim coach Kim

Hughes’ postgame speech.

“At this point, nothing surprises me,” point guard Baron Davis

said. “We’re moving in a different direction. We’ve been on the

road, so there’s not much that we know. You all found out before we

did.”

Dunleavy stepped down as coach Feb. 4. He was replaced by

Hughes, then an assistant.

“I thought Mike was going to focus on being the GM and that’s

what I thought was going to be the course of event. I’m a little

bit shocked it occurred,” Hughes said. “I’m certainly

disappointed for Mike.”

Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said after the game he always

respected Dunleavy as a coach and thought it was unfair to pin the

blame solely on Dunleavy given the Clippers’ losing history.

“It’s just hard to comment on anything another organization

does because you don’t know why or how, and multiply that about 10

with the Clippers,” Van Gundy said, drawing laughs.

“No knock on Kim or anybody else, but they haven’t exactly

taken off since the coaching change,” Van Gundy added.

Olshey had been serving as assistant GM since before the 2008-09

season. Previously, he was director of player development,

assistant coach and director of player personnel.

The team said he played an important role in several

transactions, including deals that brought Marcus Camby, Rasual

Butler, Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw and Drew Gooden to the Clippers.

Olshey also was part of the planning for the team’s last four NBA

drafts, including obtaining Blake Griffin as the No. 1 overall pick

last season.

Griffin has missed this season because of injury.

The move comes with the Clippers having significant salary cap

space in hopes of luring a top free agent this summer, an effort

center Chris Kaman applauded.

“I think that whoever’s decision it was to get rid of all that

money, they did a good job doing it,” Kaman said. “They left a

lot of space for next year and can go after a big-time player. That

was kind of the goal.”

In 6 1/2 seasons as coach, Dunleavy was 215-325, 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.

Last month, Dunleavy said, “I wanted to stay with this

organization, see things through, one way or the other. I would

have rather done it as a successful coach, but on the other hand, I

can see ahead. It was going to be a tough struggle all the way

through.”

Lakers coach Phil Jackson took a playful jab at Clippers owner

Donald Sterling earlier this year when he suggested karma might be

behind his Staples Center co-tenants’ long history of losing and

misfortune. Sterling agreed to pay $2.73 million last year to

settle allegations by the government that the real-estate mogul

discriminated in his renting practices.

Jackson skirted the issue of Dunleavy’s departure and the

so-called Clippers Curse when asked about them before the Lakers’

game against Toronto, saying the Clippers’ future “is really all

up to the owners.” When asked if Dunleavy’s former job was a

no-win situation, he noted the Clippers’ long history of respected

coaches, including Bill Fitch, Larry Brown and Alvin Gentry.

“Opportunities are opportunities in the NBA, and somebody good

is always going to want to give it a shot,” Jackson said.

Associated Press Writer Antonio Gonzalez in Orlando, Fla., and

AP Sports Writer Greg Beacham in Los Angeles contributed to this

story.