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.