Storyline: Clippers Front Office

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Paul reportedly had issue with Austin, especially after Doc Rivers was unable to make a rumored deal for Carmelo Anthony that would’ve sent Austin Rivers, Paul Pierce and Crawford to New York. Rivers denies that he rejected a deal in order to keep his son and takes issue with criticism of Austin and how he coached him. “I don’t think we’ve really heard a former player actually say that. It was reported,” Rivers told The Vertical. “I think Austin, it will always be unfair to him, throughout his career. He was a McDonald’s All-American. I guess that was because of me. The game-winning shot against North Carolina? Somehow I made that shot. He was drafted 10th. I guess that was me, too. He’s always got to deal with extra crap. He’s an easy target. It’s very easy for reporters. Use his name, and you’ll get hits. I’ve told Austin this a lot. ‘Is it a fair shake? But the lifestyle you’ve been able to live growing up, you had that advantage.’ ”

They were sitting in a meeting on the eve of free agency, when one of the NBA’s icons captured the room for Blake Griffin. With owner Steve Ballmer, coach Doc Rivers and Los Angeles Clippers teammates, Jerry West captivated Griffin, who made clear his desire to return. West had been hired as a special consultant with the Clippers, and the first task he had embraced was persuading Griffin to re-sign with Los Angeles. For all of the voices in the final meeting before midnight, West’s resonated, and Blake returned.

The Clippers pulled off one of several blockbuster trades in a wild NBA summer when they dealt Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets, but it was Paul who wanted out of Los Angeles, not the other way around. And in an appearance on ESPN’s The Hoop Collective podcast with Kevin Arnovitz, head coach Doc Rivers admitted “there were a lot of reasons” why one of the best point guards in NBA history was ready to move on. “I think he was tired of hearing my voice,” Rivers said. “I think Chris is a guy who is very opinionated, wants to be coached ‘kind of,’ if you know what I’m saying, but wants a partnership as well. And it’s tough from a coaching perspective. You gotta have a partnership but at times, you’ve gotta make the call. I thought that bothered him.

On Monday, the former Lakers legend and Hall of Famer talked about his move south an interview with The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami. “Frankly it was very sad, OK? It really was. A place where I thought that if I was going to work another year or if somebody wanted me to work another year, I thought I could contribute; I did not want to leave. I did not want to leave. I was very happy there. But those things happen sometimes. Obviously to be around a bunch of players that were as together as any I’ve seen and I think more importantly the talent that was on that team and to see the joy. There’s a lot of joy there. I think those are the kind of environments where people really prosper.”
4 months ago via ESPN

Redden worked with Winger in Cleveland, where he rose in the executive ranks as a well-regarded talent evaluator who worked under Danny Ferry, Chris Grant and Griffin. He will complement Winger, who has established a reputation as an expert strategist with a steady administrative hand and strong negotiating skills. For years, the Clippers had among the thinnest staffs in the NBA under the thrifty ownership of Donald Sterling. Since the arrival of Steve Ballmer in 2014, the franchise has grown into a robust organization with a basketball operations department that has expanded exponentially in size. Sources say the team has plans to add another assistant general manager to its brain trust.
4 months ago via ESPN

NBA commissioner Adam Silver believes that Rivers did a great service to the franchise’s value, and to the NBA, with how he held together the organization and its star players through the tumult of the Sterling nightmare. Silver wasn’t necessarily against Rivers’ ascension to the top of the Clippers masthead, but the commissioner has privately expressed concerns to owners and senior franchise officials in several instances, case by case, about the dynamic of the coach-in-charge model, league sources said.
4 months ago via ESPN

Rivers’ losing his front office duties isn’t so much an indictment of his individual fitness for the duties, but the fact that it is suited for no one coach in this modern era. For everyone trying to replicate the San Antonio dynasty, understand this: The Spurs have the greatest coach (Gregg Popovich) and greatest executive (RC Buford) of a generation. As much as it’s the ultimate model, it’s the ultimate aberration too. Popovich defers to Buford’s expertise and judgment, in ways that Minnesota president and coach Tom Thibodeau will likely never do with a GM.
4 months ago via ESPN

LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is returning Doc Rivers to the primary duty of head coach, freeing him of front office responsibilities, the owner told ESPN on Friday. Rivers, who held the title of president of basketball operations, will continue to have a strong voice in personnel and organizational matters and will partner with Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank, Ballmer told ESPN Friday. Frank will now oversee basketball operations, including the general manager.
4 months ago via ESPN

“I’ve owned the team for three 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 told ESPN on Friday. “The notion that one person can fairly focus on them and give them all the attention they need isn’t the case. To be as good as we can be, to be a championship franchise, we need two functioning strong people building teams out beneath them. There needs to be a healthy discussion and debate with two strong, independent minded people.

Do the Laker moves at all, do they affect you today?” Jerry West: “Well, what have they done? You know something, every year when people… I love Earvin Johnson, OK? I love him. I will admire him forever. But just because people do things doesn’t always make it right. How many times has the first player failed in the draft? Three times. Everyone gets excited about the draft. I’m excited even though the Clippers don’t have a draft pick at this point in time. Laker fans should be excited about it, they should be. But there’s so much more to this than meets the eye.

An official announcement is not expected until next week, another executive said, possibly as early as Monday. “Obviously, it’s attractive to him because he lives in the Los Angeles area and started his career as a player in L.A. with the Lakers,” one executive said. “This is the place for him to go because he’s looking for things to do still. He’s looking for another challenge.” Even after West met with Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and Doc Rivers, the team’s coach and president of basketball operations, on May 30 at the team’s practice facility in Playa Vista, the executives said West “twice changed his mind” before deciding Wednesday that he wanted to join the Clippers.

For one thing, Rivers isn’t leaving the Clippers. He’s owed $22 million-plus over the next two years, and he has the confidence of Ballmer. The Clippers didn’t promote Lawrence Frank to executive vice president of basketball operations, give him a long-term deal, only to tear apart the management structure months later. Ballmer, Rivers and Frank have worked to build out the front office and scouting department, and examine the processes of what they all agreed was the most important summer in franchise history.

The coach and president said there is a “50-50” chance the Clippers would either add someone from the buyout market or the Development League, a move that would require waiving someone else. The question came up because of an ESPN report Tuesday that the Clippers could be interested in forward Omri Casspi, waived last month by the Pelicans. While that move doesn’t appear likely, Rivers is keeping open the option of doing something. “We’re always looking at it,” Rivers said, adding, “We’re looking at everything.”
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December 12, 2017 | 11:06 am EST Update
“The whole thing with Markelle is messed up,” Embiid says. “It should not have happened. Obviously, it has something to do with his shoulder– I saw that they said it wasn’t the shoulder, but I don’t believe it. “With Jahlil, I really appreciate that he didn’t want to cause a scene,” he says. “If it was me, I feel like I would have lost it. I don’t know if I could have handled it.”
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Embiid makes headlines and ruffles feathers when he talks like this. Same as he did when he co-opted “The Process” as his nickname. Teammates mostly are amused by it. “He loves to poke the bear– he thrives on it,” Stauskas says. “I’ve never really seen anything like it. It’s different, but it works.” In the end, trusting the process really means trusting Embiid. “We encourage him to explore and be a little bit unfiltered,” Brown says with a smile. “That’s how he lives. And that’s how he plays.”
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“He’s out for probably a good couple of games,” said Rivers, who was already without opening night starters power forward Blake Griffin due to a left MCL sprain and point guard Patrick Beverley, who is out for the season after undergoing right knee surgery. “I guess he took a pretty hard fall in the fourth quarter,” Rivers added of Gallinari. “I honestly never saw it, then I got a call after the game about it, and then you go and look, and it was a pretty good fall.”
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You created your own clothing line with Honor The Gift. Why the name, and what are you trying to do with it? Russell Westbrook: Obviously fashion is something I love and do and embrace. Going back this past year and half, just trying to figure out the name, and I came up with Honor The Gift. Obviously ‘Why Not?’ is my motto but I believe that it all relates back. Because I believe that everybody’s been given a gift, regardless of what it is. I think everybody in the world has a gift. It’s something that’s not just a regular name, but something to relate to, because I think it’s important.
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ESPN: Has becoming a daddy changed you? Russell Westbrook: I think the moment we knew we were having Noah was the moment it changed me. For the good, obviously. You start to think about the things that best benefit him. Everything in life revolves around him. Do you look at your job differently now that you’re a dad? Are some things less important, more important? Russell Westbrook: Yeah, you know what, it’s a balance. I like to get to the gym early. I get here first and work on my game. But Noah wakes up really early, and I might have been gone on the road for six or seven days, and he hasn’t seen me in a while. Then I’m staying at home. Which is OK, because that’s more important to me than anything. That’s just something I’ve had to get used to.
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