vinny del negro

The fate of Los Angeles Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro won’t be known until next week at the earliest, according to sources close to the situation.

But Del Negro’s status must be resolved by next Friday at the latest thanks to the June 1 deadline in his contract for the Clippers to either pick up or decline their third-year team option.

Sources told ESPNLosAngeles.com that the decision rests largely with Clippers owner Donald Sterling, which could help Del Negro. The embattled coach has enjoyed a largely positive relationship with Sterling over the past two seasons, with Sterling issuing a public vote of confidence in Del Negro in March after an ESPN.com report that his job was in jeopardy.

The Clippers then followed up Sterling’s backing by winning 14 of their final 19 regular-season games and toppled the No. 4-seeded Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs in a grueling seven-game series before getting swept in the second round by the San Antonio Spurs with the star duo of Chris Paul (hip) and Blake Griffin (knee) trying to play through injuries.

– Reported by Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein of ESPN.com