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Matt Barnes talks about how Clippers decided to let Doc Rivers speak for team on Sterling

Aug 18, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

Los Angeles Clippers v Memphis Grizzlies - Game Six Getty Images

We should all be thankful the Donald Sterling era is gone. Oh, he’ll keep trying to be a nuisance by suing the league because he can, but his days of involvement with the NBA are gone.

Steve Ballmer is the owner of the Clippers. We don’t know what kind of owner the former Microsoft CEO will be, but he can’t be worse that the historically bad Sterling.

How Sterling’s demise as an owner started, with a recording of him making bigoted statements in a private conversation leaked to TMZ and made public, ended up impacting the end of the Clippers last season. They ended up angry and in the middle of a national media firestorm all while trying to work their way through the playoffs. Nobody was going to beat the Thunder with that hanging over their heads.

Matt Barnes is back in his native Sacramento and spoke with News10’s Sean Cunningham about how the team dealt with that.

“Everyone thought they had the answer on what to do and what we should do,” Barnes said. “Doc brought us in and talked to us the morning after it happened. We all got to air out our feelings, but we decided as a team for Doc to be the only one answering questions and for us to concentrate on basketball, and I think that relieved a little bit of the pressure.”

(You should read the entire post to read what Barnes said about a family tragedy he went through this summer.)

The Clippers are serious title contenders this year. At the end of last season I thought they we’re the third best team in the NBA, problem is the two above them were both in the West. That said, the Clippers should be better.

Los Angeles is improved because they have Spencer Hawes as their first big off the bench, who is a massive upgrade over Glen Davis and Ryan Hollins who were the backups last year. Los Angeles will have DeAndre Jordan in a contract year. Also, this is their second year in Doc Rivers’ system.

But most of all, they won’t have Sterling as a distraction at the key part of the season.

  1. cbking05 - Aug 18, 2014 at 4:49 PM

    SacTown’s Finest ….oh wait, scratch that out

  2. eugenesaxe1 - Aug 18, 2014 at 4:51 PM

    Doc could’ve just told the media to pound sand. Problem solved.

  3. iammr713 - Aug 18, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    Why is Matt Barnes even talking? They were trying to trade him for a case of blank CDs this offseason & couldn’t. Lol they don’t even want him on the team.

  4. jvw1982 - Aug 18, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    I love the Clips but something about them is missing not sure what it is but I don’t see them having enough to beat the top seeds in the West…..I see OKC, Spurs ahead them last yr and this yr with GS better on paper this yr and Dallas right with them…..

    • Wammy Giveaway - Aug 18, 2014 at 7:26 PM

      The Clippers had two weaknesses: a backup center and a healthy wing man. Spencer Hawes is the backup center… who can shoot 3’s. That’s solved.

      The wing man… forget about it. They will have to trade in order to get their small forward, but it’s going to cost them an arm and a leg. Translation: trading Jamal Crawford won’t be enough this time; they could be forced to give up DeAndre Jordan.

      But in my honest opinion, Doc stays with the same roster as last year, no trades. They’ll have to improvise. 1s, 2s and 4s will have to masquerade as the 3. Blake Griffin might have to transition to small forward.

  5. campcouch - Aug 18, 2014 at 7:50 PM

    I thought the coach was the de facto spokesperson anyways. You know, I wonder how this would’ve played out if the coach was not black. What would the players have done? I’m sure they felt that Doc could “relate” to them although like myself, they’ve never experienced true oppression or true denial due to race. I wonder how differently would it have played out.

    • cowboysmavs - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:52 PM

      campcouch, i’m not too much older than some of the players and I have dealt with racism first hand. As a kid and and as in adult. You have no way to know “they’ve never experienced true oppression or true denial due to race”. … smh

      • campcouch - Aug 19, 2014 at 12:39 AM

        I’ve dealt with racism as well, but oppression and denial of liberty is something that those of the Civil Rights movement and prior truly experienced. Being insulted or harassed by a few morons is nothing like systematic repression. These guys were offended because of the antics of an old man. They were never cheated out of rightfully due pay or denied entry or freedom. I really don’t think any of these guys have ever been told to sit somewhere or blasted by hoses, whipped or segregated. I’ve been approached by cops asking me who,what and where, and as agitated as I may have been, I let them do whatever they need to do, verify my story and go about my business. I never said that they didn’t say they never experienced racism, I said oppression and denial.

  6. imakcds - Aug 19, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    Clips won’t win much until Blake Griffin grows up and stops being a Punk.
    they’ve got a great coach, the best PG, an awesome roster, but they rely too much on a heartless girl.

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