Clifford Ray Rumors
The Sacramento Kings today announced that Kings Assistant Coaches Jim Eyen, Alex English, and Clifford Ray will not be retained for the upcoming season, effectively immediately. In addition, Bobby Jackson will no longer serve as an assistant coach but will continue with the organization in another capacity.
Petrie insisted Monday that both he and the organization are committed to Cousins for the long haul. “When I talk to him periodically, it can be about basketball, it can be about life, it can be about last night’s game, it can be about today’s practice,” Petrie said. “We’ve got an unbelievable staff that works with him on a daily basis. We’ve got Clifford Ray, who’s one of the best big men coaches around. We’ve got a head coach that continues to invest a tremendous amount of energy to help him. He’s all about moving forward and trying to help solve this.”
Clifford Ray said he wanted to coach two more years before heading back to Florida. But the Celtics dismissed him after the 2009-10 season. After a year and a half off and time to rehabilitate a troublesome left foot, Ray is working as a consultant with the Sacramento Kings, working with mercurial big man DeMarcus Cousins. Ray was an assistant on Doc Rivers’s staff since Rivers’s days in Orlando, but he was removed in favor of Roy Rogers, who lasted one season before joining Lawrence Frank’s staff in Detroit. Now the Celtics lack a big man coach. Ray, meanwhile, is grateful to be in better health and back in the NBA. “I hadn’t really wanted to come back to work but [Sacramento coach] Keith [Smart] and I went through minor league ball together and I was with him when he got his first [NBA] job, pretty much like it was with Doc when he had his first job,’’ Ray said. “It was more caring for somebody – that was the motivation – and I want to see how I physically progressed.’’
Clifford Ray, a former NBA center and longtime coach in the NBA and Continental Basketball Association, has joined the Kings as a consultant who will work primarily with their big men. Ray, who had a 10-year playing career with Chicago and Golden State, was most recently an assistant coach with Boston from 2006 to 2010, a tenure that included the Celtics’ 2007-08 NBA title season. Ray was a member of Cleveland’s coaching staff in 2002-03, when Smart was the Cavaliers’ interim head coach. Smart said the two coached together in the CBA, where Smart got his coaching start with the Fort Wayne Fury.
A new addition to the Sacramento Kings’ coaching staff was spotted working with Hassan Whiteside following shoot-around today. Clifford Ray, who won championships as a player (1975, Golden State Warriors) and coach (2008, Boston Celtics), has joined head coach Keith Smart’s staff to work with the team’s big men. “He’s been all over with coaching so he has a great feel,” said Smart of Ray, who’s had NBA stints in Dallas, New Jersey, Golden State, Cleveland, Orlando and Boston. “Every big guy in the league has come through his hands at one time or another.”
The contracts for all of Doc Rivers’ assistant coaches expired on June 30, but only one has been told to find another job. Two league sources confirmed that Roy Rogers, who replaced Clifford Ray as big man coach last season, will not return.
The man knows defense. The man knows interior defense. “If I had to grade Perkins’ understanding of the game, I’d have to give him A’s,” Ray said. “Perk was always a student of the game. Perk is always two plays ahead. He sees what’s going to take place. He directs traffic.”
But Clifford Ray doesn’t need to see for himself. Perkins’ mentor — and a former Oklahoma Sooner — says Perkins’ defense was well-refined before the 2007 trade that brought Garnett and an NBA title to Boston. “By the time Garnett got there, I had been there two years,” Ray said. Perkins was “way ahead” defensively by then.
Sean Grande: Doc on Vescey’s Clifford Ray story: “It was my decision, I made it in the middle of last year”.
True enough. But the real reason Ray wasn’t invited back is because Rivers didn’t think he was healthy enough to get out on the floor and coach. Like the infection was Ray’s fault. Like Rivers didn’t know Ray was ailing for years. Like he couldn’t have reached that conclusion last June so that Ray would’ve had ample time to find work elsewhere.
Rivers told Boston reporters he had no room in back of the bench for Ray because newly hired first assistant Lawrence Frank’s deal allowed him to enlist a friend.
Additionally, the Celtics approved medical attention for Ray, specifically for an MRSA infection he contracted in his foot several years ago while working (hence, the boot he wore so long) in Boston’s contaminated practice facility; Paul Pierce and Delonte West also got sick. Had Ray not been in Minnesota last summer and gone, at the urging of his girlfriend, to the Mayo Clinic, doctors told him he was within days of having his foot amputated.
Two weeks before the season began, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, who kept assistant Clifford Ray on hold the whole summer, informed him his services would no longer be needed. An agreement eventually was signed by Ray, who was pressured by team president Danny Ainge to sign by a certain date (without getting lawyers involved) or forget it. Ray, the 1974-75 champion Warriors’ starting center, received $100,000 to go away quietly, enough to keep him and his family (including a 13-year-old son) going for a year or so.
Perhaps the most surprising absence this fall is Clifford Ray, who was replaced as the team’s big man coach by former Celtic Roy Rogers. The news was a particular surprise to the player Ray has helped most over the last four years – Kendrick Perkins. But the C’s center, recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, knows when it’s time to roll with the front office. “Doc (Rivers) hit me with a text this summer that Cliff wasn’t going to be with us,” said Perkins. “I was like, ‘I understand, Doc, I’m going to roll with you. I’m happy to have you back. “But it was a surprise to me,” he added. “I didn’t know. Me and Cliff had surgery at the same time. They repaired both his knees. I was seeing him every day.”
Rivers said it was difficult letting go of longtime assistant Clifford Ray, who was notified a few weeks ago that he would be relieved of his duties as big-man coach after six seasons. Rivers said it was equally difficult to part with associate head coach Tom Thibodeau, who took the head job in Chicago. “I had dinner and lunch with Tibs Sunday and Monday,’’ Rivers said. “You know, you form a special bond with those guys, especially with Cliff. Cliff’s been with me for a while. Someday he may be back with me. But yeah, it’s always tough.’’