LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Clippers head coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers has reportedly resigned after owner Steve Ballmer asked him to “dial back” the amount of time that his son, Austin Rivers, spent with the team.
Here’s what Ballmer had to say to the media regarding the situation:
“Look, I asked Doc, ‘Listen, our focus, our desire this year is to make sure we give ourselves every opportunity to focus on a daily basis on getting better. All I’m asking you to do in regard to bringing Austin around the team every day is to dial it back. I mean, we both know that Austin isn’t the strongest ball player.’
“I was willing to meet Doc halfway,” said Ballmer. “Right now, Austin’s there 100% of the time, every day. I said I don’t even think he should even be there 50% of the time. Figure it out, somewhere in between. Maybe leave him at home on road trips. We all think this kid is a great young man. I just felt it should not be everyday, that’s all. You tell me, where in this league you can bring your child to work every day?”
When asked whether Rivers’ disappointing player efficiency rating of 9.9 factored into the request, Ballmer made it pretty clear.
“I would say. …if I just had to throw out a number. … it factored into 90-95% of the decision. Sh*t, if Austin was dropping 20 and 10 on a regular basis then Doc could have all three of his sons in the starting lineup.”
Coach Rivers was reportedly furious with the request and abruptly resigned leaving the Clippers with assistant Mike Woodson as the team’s interim head coach. It’s not exactly what Ballmer had in mind.
“I can’t speak much to the coaching abilities of Mike [Woodson], said Ballmer. “But at least he doesn’t have any sons.”
Many of the Clippers players were also reportedly furious with the decision as Austin Rivers was widely regarded as the team’s “13th man.” There was even talk among Clippers of boycotting Wednesday’s game in Houston.
To appease the situation, injured forward Blake Griffin promised the team that he would do his Austin Rivers impression at practice everyday and there was unanimous agreement that this was way better than having Austin on the team.
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