LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Jim Todd, who served as the Los Angeles Clippers' interim head coach for the final 37 games of last season, has been removed as a candidate for the team's head coaching job.

Elgin Baylor, the team's vice president of basketball operations, met with Todd on Monday to inform him of the decision.

Baylor said the Clippers hope to have a coach in place by the NBA draft on June 28, and confirmed the team has spoken with Mike Fratello, who coached the Atlanta Hawks for seven seasons and the Cleveland Cavaliers for six.

Fratello, 53, was fired by the Cavaliers last June 1, following the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season, and has worked as a television analyst this season. His teams have a 582-465 record.

Baylor would not identify others he has spoken with about the job, but did say there have been conversations, and didn't rule out assistant coach Dennis Johnson as a candidate. Johnson joined the Clippers' staff on Feb. 4 _ a day after Chris Ford was fired and Todd was elevated from his assistant coaching position to interim head coach.

``I've had several conversations with people, I've talked to agents about their clients, I intend to talk to a couple of candidates this week,'' Baylor said. ``I'm not going to get into who's a candidate or who's not a candidate.

Of Todd, Baylor said: ``We appreciate his effort and hard work, and we have let him know that he is entitled to be considered for a position on the staff, based on the wishes of the new head coach. He was very professional about it. he was very receptive. He wants to be an assistant, he feels his best situation with any organization is on the bench. He's a coach. He would like to be here, or an assistant somewhere. That would be up to the head coach.''

Todd, 47, joined the organization as an assistant under Ford before the 1998-99 season. The Clippers were 11-34 before Ford was fired and 4-33 under Todd for an overall record of 15-67 _ worst in the NBA.