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Doc Rivers on if he still coaches Clippers next season if Donald Sterling is around: “Don’t know yet.”

Apr 28, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Doc Rivers Doc Rivers

Among the many questions in the fallout from Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s alleged racist comments, there are the ones about what this does to the team on the court long term. What will this do to a team that is on the cusp of being a contender?

Will Doc Rivers return as coach? Will free agents still want to come to the Clippers?

Nobody is sure what happens next, but if the league is not decisive and strong with its punishment (if it is determined that is Sterling on the TMZ tape) things could get ugly.

Rivers was asked directly about next season and this was his answer, via Marc Stein of ESPN.

“Don’t know yet. And I’m just gong to leave it at that.”

The cynical response here is I can think of seven million reasons Doc River will be back with the Clippers next season, and each has George Washington’s picture on it.

But Sterling’s latest public mess changes things. Rivers never signed up to coach for Sterling, really, but now he has to answer why he did? Rivers admitted he had some idea of Sterling’s background but really hadn’t researched it much. He saw a basketball opportunity to help take a team to the next level and maybe challenge for a ring. And to get paid handsomely while doing it. He took it.

Like the guys in the locker room playing for each other now, Rivers is a basketball guy in a good basketball situation that would be hard for him to walk away from.

But will others walk into it? Maybe not.

Agent Chris Luchey was among several who told media members they would advice their clients not to play for the Clippers.

It’s one thing to say that now, it’s another thing to do it when there is a contract is there on the table. If a player is in a situation with options this is certainly gaining to factor in — they are king to have to explain to friends why they signed —but if they are getting offered more money to come to the warm weather and bright lights of Los Angeles to play on a contender? We’ll see if guys turn it down.

But some guys will say no, still. Others will think twice about t at least.

This is the legacy of Donald Sterling now. One that should have been there for a long time but now is exposed in the light.

  1. fnc111 - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:11 AM

    Black players have to stop the racism towards whites too. It works both ways and it should stop now, all of the racism. Shaq saying “dominant white family” in the NBA referring to the Plumlee’s is racist. Also, denounce and not allow Will I Am’s music in stadiums. You know the rapper who hates white people.

    • loungefly74 - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:28 AM

      good point. Tearing up Sterling is like shooting fish-in-a-barrel…the real test is how people react to this. some will come out and say, quite frankly, stupid stuff to counter sterling’s stupid stuff…making it not better at all. i think snoopdog’s take may be a good example of this. my point, an eye for eye makes the whole world blind. here is a chance to rise above the crap and response/react in ways to uplift the human race. what would MLK do? Ghandi? my Dad? (sorry, had to throw my dad in there…he was a great man)

      don’t worry…Sterling will get what is coming to him.

      • money2long - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:41 PM

        Talking about race does not make You racist !

      • loungefly74 - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:12 PM

        agree, M2L…

    • money2long - Apr 28, 2014 at 11:25 AM

      Do u know the true meaning of racist ? Shaq saying dominant white family is not “racist”. He is not knocking them, being negative or discriminating against their color in a poor manner. He is simply “acknowledging” their race. Acknowledging one’s race is not being “racist”. Negatively judging their race would be racist. Shaq is more race conscious with making those comments. Get real.

      • ProBasketballPundit - Apr 28, 2014 at 4:16 PM

        It is racist. The only way to avoid racism is to judge everybody individually. Calling someone a dominant white family is doubly racist because family is the closest “race” you have. Everybody who engages in groupthink and makes sweeping generalizations about groups of people is also racist… it’s a simpler way of thinking.

      • money2long - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:42 PM

        Talking about race does not make you racist. You don’t know the meaning of racist.

      • money2long - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:45 PM

        What you described is not the definition of racism. At all. You’re a fool. So is everyone who thumbed up. All shaq is pretty much saying is they are some nice white guys. He is acknowledging their race. That’s not being racist. You guys are dumb. Did he say anything false calling them white ??? Are you fools sure you know what it means to be racist ?

  2. bucrightoff - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:14 AM

    I’m sorry but it’s been out there for years that Sterling is a racist and that didn’t stop anybody from cashing the checks before. He’s said even more ugly, racist stuff than this and it didn’t stop anyone from signing there (them sucking did). We’ll see if players and/or coaches start walking away from the money (and what’s now a successful team), but ultimately they didn’t before so I doubt they will now.

    • goodtogo28 - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:33 AM

      the entire nba, stern, even rivers (played and coaches) for this guy and they all knew who this guy was but unfortunately all them cared more about color green rather than taking a stance against this bufoon. now that stuff has hit the fan and the public got a closer look, all these multi million dollars owners and athletes trying to distance themselves with their phony outrage which is something they should’ve done long time ago. btw, what’s naacp’s excuse for wanting to give this guy a lifetime acheivement award for the second time? i guess color green trumps everything else.

      • reesesteel23 - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:16 AM

        You know money rules the world. You would have played for him too for the millions and so would I……AS LONG AS HE KEEPS IT TO HIMSELF.

        Now that its public, its a different story.

    • knickshater - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:05 AM

      I agree. Money talks.

    • unxpexted1 - Apr 28, 2014 at 1:58 PM

      Money talks I agree but this is different. There is a difference from just knowing somebody is racist or has racist tendencies from second hand accounts. But when you hear it for yourself first hand, I think it makes it much more real and why even the the comments aren’t as bad as things he’s said/done in the past, it makes it more real and personal because you’ve experience it first hand.

  3. toddm1016 - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:27 AM

    This was hard to read. Please invest in an editor.

    • willkill4caffeine - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      Thank you. I’m so happy someone beat me to this. I love this site, and the writing content-wise is always fantastic. But I’d be astounded if they employed an Editor. The basic grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors are far too-often occurring to just be “overlooked” once in awhile. It detracts from the professionalism of the site, and that’s a shame, because it really has become one of my favorites recently.

  4. phillyguyindc - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:31 AM

    He’ll be back. Book it.

  5. nokoolaidcowboy - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:37 AM

    1. Sterling is a mental midget but there are still some if these walking around in all shapes, sizes and colors.
    2. Yeah, he was set up judging by the way what’s her name was leading him (and probably is the one recording it).
    3. Given the nature and circumstances it would be hard for most people to go back to work unaffected,
    4. Ugly old dude. Young chick. TMZ. Enough said!

  6. ryanrockzzz - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:00 AM

    It’s a shame Sterling feels this way, but it won’t stop players from coming there or Rivers from coaching. That’s just lip service. In America, things always blow over. This will blow over like everything else, the interesting part will be if Sterling makes it out as owner or not. Hopefully they remove him. Not only is he racist, but he’s never been a good owner or person in general.

    • money2long - Apr 28, 2014 at 11:32 AM

      Yes. The guys you mention have contracts.
      But look at it from this angle.
      So now that the world is fully aware if sterling’s feelings , and Chris Paul was a free agent , would he sign there , yes or no?
      If doc were leaving the celtics this year would doc be pushing hard to be traded to the clippers THIS offseason ? Yes or no?
      Would there be any reports of lebron potentially signing with the clippers ? Yes or no ?

      The people involved with the clippers NOW are in a tough position because they signed on the dotted line.
      Who in their right mind would walk into the clipper family now with knowing how sterling feels now ?

  7. ningenito78 - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    Hey I’m not somebody that calls out for writing errors but you guys are having a rough morning over there.

    • CrownsDownFootball420 - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:41 AM

      It’s tough to edit and proof an article when you are racing to be the first to post something we all already know.

    • zerole00 - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      As far as grammatical and spelling errors go, I think it’s more of a “rough existence” than “rough morning.” They make for some funny reads though.

  8. notinmyhouse56 - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    So we all agree that the Clippers run LA right? Wait… what? Why you don’t claim that anymore?! Because their owner is a racist prick? Because they have a wonderful record of 0.38 in franchise history? C’mon guys! It was the Lakers who were supposed to be the pathetic LA team! I apologise for the cynicism, but I do feel deep satisfaction.

  9. nard100 - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    I don’t feel bad for the girl. She was a total sellout and whether she knows it or not there will be a terrible backlash coming her way that will probably make her regret releasing that tape. I definitely don’t feel bad for Sterling. He’s been a terrible owner who put junk teams out for years and did so without any remorse. I do feel bad for the fans though. After years of of having to endure being the little step-brother in town, the team was finally coming into its own. And now they might as well give it the SMU style death penalty. Despite what folks are saying about player willingness to cash checks, please remember that is before the nation at large knew about Sterling racist proclivities. Now if you go there and work for him, you will be labeled a sellout. The league will act and Sterling will be removed, but I promise you, it will be years before they recover if at all. To be honest, this would be a prime time for the Lakers to bring about a full-on coup de tat. And no I’m not a Lakers fan but just think about the idea of 3 of the 5 starters switched to the other locker room.

  10. metalhead65 - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    guess he and the players who don’t want to play for him anymore don’t want to get paid then. he may be a racist but he is a rich one paying them lots of money to play a game not judge him as a person. you can hate him all you want but you signed the contract to coach and to play for him, unless it contains a clause about his personal feelings you are stuck there unless you want to give back all the money.

  11. campcouch - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    I’ll coach ’em. I have no problem being labled a sellout. I couldn’t hate me too much if he’s paying me 4 mil a year.

  12. heat256 - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    I seriously wonder if, when free agency roll around, if Sterling still technically owns the team, can the players petition Commissioner SIlver to void their contracts and allow them to be free agents if they are opposed to playing for Sterling? That would create quite the ripple effect throughout the league, and would probably send the strongest message to Sterling.

    • heat256 - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:19 AM


    • realfootballfan - Apr 28, 2014 at 12:35 PM

      That’s not going to happen. Silver doesn’t have domain over their contracts as that’s a legal agreement. However, I think if the NBA itself wanted to put Sterling between a rock and a hard place, they can force him to sell.

  13. 1972wasalongtimeago - Apr 28, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    Rivers is so full of crap. He knew very well who Donald Sterling is, and yet he power played the Celtics into letting him out of the 3 years he had left on his contract and got to pick the Clippers as the team he’d be traded to.

    The players too. I understand that being drafted by or traded to the Clips was beyond their control, but by now ALL of them knew the deal and NONE of them ever said or did anything until it was safe to do something.

    And Magic, Bette, Billy C, and all the rest should be blaming themselves for enabling this guy all these years.

    All of them condemn him now, and it’s deserved. But none have expressed any regret for not having done sooner.

  14. realfootballfan - Apr 28, 2014 at 12:22 PM

    I know I wouldn’t. I don’t know what he can do contractually, but I would be on the phone with my lawyers as soon as the season ends if he’s still owning the team.

  15. granadafan - Apr 28, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    I had the misfortune of renting out an apartment owned by Sterling’s company an few years ago in LA. It was a piece of crap with brown water running out of faucets, peeling paint, leaks, gas smells, super thin walls, etc. Any complaints to the management were met with hostility and barely noticeable repairs. As others have said, it’s widely known around LA what a racist slimeball Sterling is. This tape was the smoking gun for the rest of the nation that exposed him.

  16. andreboy1 - Apr 28, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    liar, he’ll be there

  17. jollyjoker2 - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:38 PM

    he might be back but he will have nothing to coach..the good players will walk the first chance they get.

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