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Clippers, Dunleavy Unable To Make A Clean Break

The Clippers relationship with Mike Dunleavy came to an end on March 9, when he was relieved of his duties as general manager, with 18 games left in the season, a month after he stepped down as coach. The two sides are at odds over just how much money is owed to Dunleavy, who had a year remaining on his five-year contract.

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Now, both sides have sued one another, each side claiming fraud. The Clippers filed suit last week, per Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times:

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“During negotiations of the Employment Agreement, Dunleavy made representations and promises to LAC (the Clippers) that he desired to, and would continue to perform, his duties and obligations as LAC’s Head Coach through the 2010-11 NBA Season. LAC is informed and believes, and thereon allege, that at the time he made those representation and promises, Dunleavy had no intention to perform his duties and obligations as LAC’s Head Coach through the 2010-11 NBA season, and knew these representations and promises to be false.

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LAC is further informed and believes, and thereon allege, that Dunleavy made these representations and promises to induce LAC to enter the Employment Agreement, provide him a long-term contract, and to secure additional compensation for promising to act as LAC’s Head Coach through the 2010-11 NBA season.”

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Dunleavy’s lawyer, Miles Clements, told ESPN the Clippers lawsuit was just a stall tactic:

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“A blind man can see what their strategy is, and that’s to delay. That’s a strategy they’ve employed in the past with coaches they’ve fired and didn’t want to pay. I’m optimistic that strategy will not work for them here.”

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It’s a shame Dunleavy’s tenure with the Clippers has come to such an acrimonious end. After all, in 2006 he led the Clippers to their only playoff series victory since becoming the Clippers in 1978. Of course, some would scream “Daniel Ewing” in claiming that the Clippers should have won two playoff series that year instead of just one.

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In a thankless job that nobody has lasted longer than four seasons, Dunleavy made it more than halfway through his seventh season with the club. Dunleavy has coached 541 games with the Clippers, so surely he can endure a few more months in Los Angeles County Superior Court.