After four long years of “GM” Doc, Steve Ballmer has finally returned Doc Rivers to the primary duty of head coach, freeing him from the LA Clippers front office.
On Friday afternoon, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski announced that LA Clippers’ owner, Steve Ballmer, is returning Doc Rivers to the primary duty of head coach, freeing him of front-office responsibilities.
With this move, Lawrence Frank, the team’s executive vice president of basketball operations, will now oversee all basketball operations. Wojnarowski added that Rivers will still be able to have input on personnel and organizational matters. However, both Frank and Rivers will still have to report everything to Clippers’ owner Steve Ballmer.
The Clippers join the Hawks as the second organization this offseason to move away from the president-coach structure as Atlanta removed Mike Budenholzer from his front office role earlier this year. This leaves only three teams with president-coaches: the San Antonio Spurs and Greg Popovich, the Detroit Pistons and Stan Van Gundy, and more recently, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Tom Thibodeau.
Sam Amick added on Twitter that River’s move out of the front-office will have no impact on the coach’s contract and that Rivers will still get the entirety of the 5-year, $50 million deal he signed in 2014 after Ballmer purchased the team.
Both Doc Rivers and Lawrence Frank commented on the front office moves in a press release distributed by the Clippers.
Doc Rivers: “I am committed to the Clippers success and am excited to focus on the coaching side as two thirds of our roster will be new this year. This is a change I discussed with Steve since my bet last year on Lawrence Frank has worked out so well.”
Lawrence Frank: “After a year in the organization’s front office, I am excited to continue to invest in our front office and I look forward to the opportunity. Steve has charged us with taking the Clippers to the next level, and together with Doc we will do just that.”
In the press release announcing the move, Ballmer also added his insight on the reasoning behind the move:
“Doc knows how to win championships. 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.” He added: “Lawrence is someone I learn from every single time I hear him talk. He gets recruiting, talent development and identification, salary cap strategy – he gets it all. I know the team will be well positioned with him leading the front office. It is great to have two independent voices — and two of the League’s absolute professionals — working in partnership for our team. With these two guys at the helm, we will have great success.”
These front office changes come just a week after the Clippers interviewed the New York Knick’s Director of Player Personnel Mark Hughes and former Sacramento Kings Director of Player Personnel Shareef Abdur-Rahim for front-office positions.
This move could also create room for Jerry West’s son Ryan West, who is currently the Director of Player Personnel for the Los Angeles Lakers, to join the Clippers’ front office. When it was announced that Jerry West would be joining the Clippers as a consultant, rumors began to sprout that Ryan West may end up joining the Clippers’ front office in some capacity.