Clippers coach Rivers stripped of executive duties
LOS ANGELES, USA – Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers has been relieved of his duties as president of basketball operations, allowing him to focus on coaching duties, team owner Steve Ballmer said Friday, August 4 (Saturday Manila time).
Ballmer said Lawrence Frank, the team's executive vice president, will assume responsibility for basketball operations. Frank also will oversee general manager Dave Wohl.
Both Rivers, 55, and Frank, 46, will report directly to the owner.
"Doc knows how to win championships," Ballmer said in a statement. "That is what we prioritize, and that is what Doc will focus on. He is key to integrating our new players with our returning players and taking us to new heights on the court."
Rivers will continue to have a strong voice in personnel and organizational matters, Ballmer later told ESPN.
"I've owned the team for 3 years now, and I really better understand what an owner's responsibility is – and it turns out that running a franchise and coaching are two enormous and different jobs," Ballmer said.
"The notion that one person can fairly focus on them and give them all the attention they need isn't the case."
The Clippers head into the new NBA season without veteran point guard Chris Paul, who was traded to the Houston Rockets in June after saying he planned to depart the team in free agency.
The Rockets sent 7 players plus a 2018 first-round NBA draft pick to the Clippers in the deal, but the 9-time All-Star's departure still prompted Las Vegas bookmakers to immediately drop the Clippers' chances of winning the title next season from 40-1 to 100-1.
Rivers, who guided the Boston Celtics to the 2008 NBA title, left the Celtics to join the Clippers as the Los Angeles club's top basketball executive and coach four years ago.
He inherited a depleted front office in the aftermath of former owner Donald Sterling's racially-charged audio tape scandal.
In the wake of the scandal, Ballmer bought the Clippers for $2 billion and ultimately signed Rivers to a five-year, $55 million contract extension to continue as president and coach in 2014. – Rappler.com