At its surface, the Clippers probably won’t look much different at the beginning of next season, but their front office in the midst of shedding its dermis while the ownership situation is in flux.
With Donald Sterling out of the picture, the expectation was that the Clippers would finally begin to resemble a normal functioning NBA franchise.
One year after becoming the Clippers’ Vice President of Basketball Operations, Doc Rivers is now the face of the franchise in what amounts to a reconstruction of the entire Clippers front office.
Three decades ago when Sterling assumed ownership of the Clippers, he took the team in a drastically different direction — downwards, in the standings, morally and in terms of competence.
One of his first executive moves was to hire Patricia Simmons, a model he’d met at the Playboy Club as an assistant general manager. The Clippers have come a long way from hoop noobs running the show to the most esteemed active black coach in the entire league.
Wednesday’s announcement of Rivers’ promotion to Clippers President of Basketball Operations makes him one of the most powerful active coaches in pro basketball.
Nobody wields more power throughout the league than Gregg Popovich, who essentially groomed R.C. Buford and the other two are essentially fresh hires who are devoid of Rivers’ championship credentials.
Down on the hardwood sidelines, Rivers may have to retool his bench as well. Tyronn Lue is up for a slew of head coaching vacancies and Alvin Gentry’s limbs are sore from getting pulled in a litany of different directions including Steve Kerr’s Golden State Warriors staff.
To absorb any potential losses, Rivers is considering adding excommunicated Nets assistant coach
Jorah Mormont Lawrence Frank to his coaching staff.
Other changes the Clippers should consider making include removing the ladies of the evening from their office besides Sterling.
An official apology to Elgin Baylor for all the jokes he endured as the Clippers general manager for two decades.
Announcing bring a black friend to a game, 2 for 1 ticket night.
And lastly, replacing all of the Apple products (including banning Beats by Dre headphones from the locker room) with Microsoft merch.
Speaking of Apple, we'd be remiss without noting the pipe dream for Clippers fans now that former Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer's ownership era is about to begin. It's a long shot, but in conjunction with Rivers' ascension, the Clippers could become a more palatable option for the four-time MVP LeBron James in free agency this summer or next. If there's anyone that has enough clout to make that magic happen, it's Rivers.