Father More Gung-Ho Than Son About Any Possible Dunleavy Pairing
How about a Dunleavy duo surfacing in the NBA?
Well, the son isn't too keen on the idea.
"Not really," Dunleavy Jr., an Indiana swingman, said Sunday when asked if it's a dream to one day play on an NBA team coached by his dad, Mike Dunleavy Sr. "There could be a lot of issues with it. If it were to happen, you'd make the most of it. But it's not something that I'm trying to do... If you were on a great team and you're winning, to do it with your dad, that would be great. But when things aren't going well, it could be kind of like hit or miss.''
Dunleavy Jr. didn't disagree situations such as playing time could provide a distraction if he ever were to play for his father.
"There just could be issues," said Dunleavy Jr., a nine-year man with a career scoring average of 12.1. "I'd prefer not to play for a family member. But if it happens, it happens... It's not something that I don't think either one of us is trying to make happen.''
The father, though, has a different take. He said the two have talked at times about one day being on the same team, but understands why his son wouldn't say it's a dream to play for his father.
"He doesn't want to just come out and say that and people might think he wants his father to coach the Pacers,'' Dunleavy Sr. said on Monday, although Indiana president Larry Bird has said Jim O'Brien will coach the team the rest of this season.
Dunleavy Sr., 56, has been an NBA coach for 17 seasons with four teams, having most recently been with the Los Angeles Clippers until his 6 ½-year run as their coach ended last February. Since his son entered the NBA in 2002 with Golden State and was traded to Indiana in 2007, the father said there's never been a situation in which the two came close to being on the same team.
That doesn't mean Dunleavy Sr. wouldn't want it to happen one day.
"It would have to be the right situation," Dunleavy Sr. said. "It wouldn't work if you had a mentally weak team in which guys would point at things. ... You wouldn't want players thinking they have to be careful what they say (to Dunleavy Jr.) because it could get back to (the coach) or that there could be more minutes, more shots (for the son of the coach).''
Stay tuned to see if there's any chance of a father coaching his son in the NBA for the first time. Guard Coby Karl, son of Denver boss George Karl, did join the Nuggets last April during the final month of their season. But the son never was activated for a game and the father was out then for the remainder of the season while battling a form of throat cancer.
In the meantime, Dunleavy Sr. has other things to be concerned about. The Clippers, who fired him as general manager March 8, 2010 after his dual role as coach and executive had ended a month earlier, haven't paid him the $6.75 million left on his contract.
Dunleavy Sr. said his arbitration case against the Clippers to recoup his money has been set for the week beginning April 18 in Los Angeles, where Dunleavy Sr. has continued to live. Clippers general counsel Robert Pratt confirmed that date.
The Clippers contend Dunleavy Sr. quit as coach Feb. 4, 2010, breaching his contract. The decision had been announced by the Clippers as a mutual agreement. Dunleavy Sr. said he didn't quit but didn't want to go into specifics on that due to the pending arbitration.
Regardless, Dunleavy Sr. hasn't been paid the $1.35 million left on his contract for the final portion of last season and the $5.4 million due for this season.
After he wasn't being paid, Dunleavy Sr. last spring filed for arbitration to collect the amount. The Clippers countered with a lawsuit last summer against Dunleavy Sr., claiming he "had no intention to perform his duties and obligations as head coach through the 2010-11 season.'' Dunleavy Sr. said the lawsuit was without merit.
Pratt said the lawsuit was dropped because the Clippers seek to settle the matter in arbitration, which he described as a proper legal channel. Pratt said the Clippers' "claims in the lawsuit'' are "identical'' to what the team will pursue in arbitration.
For now, Dunleavy Sr. is looking for work in basketball. Dunleavy has been pursuing NBA and college broadcasting jobs for later this season. But he doesn't know how that will work out since he just underwent left knee replacement surgery, and is unsure how much he'll be able to travel. For the long term, Dunleavy said he's also interested in NBA coaching and front-office jobs that might come open.
Would he desire a coaching job that could result in having Dunleavy Jr. on his team? He expresses more interest in such a scenario than does his son.