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NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 29: Head coach Doc Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers argues with referee Ken Mauer #41 after a technical foul call against the Brooklyn Nets in overtime at Barclays Center on November 29, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

Doc Rivers Losing Clippers Front Office Post To Focus On Coaching Team

Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer on Friday announced that Doc Rivers will stay on as head coach but will be removed from his position as president of basketball operations.

Doc Rivers loses clippers president job

Lawrence Frank — the Clippers’ executive vice president of basketball operations — will replace Rivers, who has served as the team’s coach and president since 2013 after spending nine seasons as coach of the Boston Celtics. Frank previously served as a two-time head coach of the New York Nets and Detroit Pistons.

Ballmer added that Rivers will nonetheless still have a say in front office and personnel issues.

“I’ve owned the team for three years now, and I really better understand what an owner’s responsibility is — and it turns out that running a franchise and coaching are two enormous and different jobs,” Ballmer told ESPN. “The notion that one person can fairly focus on them and give them all the attention they need isn’t the case. To be as good as we can be, to be a championship franchise, we need two functioning strong people building teams out beneath them. There needs to be a healthy discussion and debate with two strong, independent-minded people.”

“There are different relationships that a player needs to have with the coach and the front office,” Ballmer added. “Doc put Lawrence in charge of the non-coaching aspects of the front office last year, and he’s done a fantastic job. I want each of them to dig in and do what they do best. Lawrence has come on so strong in that role, and that has helped us go down this path.”

The Clippers lost All-Star point guard Chris Paul in a trade with the Houston Rockets earlier this offseason, and now have nine new players to incorporate into their roster.

Ballmer’s team is the second NBA organization to make changes in its president-coach structure this year. The Atlanta Hawks removed Mike Budenholzer from his dual president-coach position this spring and placed new general manager Travis Schlenk in charge of basketball operations.

The only three remaining basketball teams that have a coach who also holds a front office role are the San Antonio Spurs (Gregg Popovich), the Pistons (Stan Van Gundy), and the Minnesota Timberwolves (Tom Thibodeau). 

Ballmer bought the Clippers for $2 billion in 2014 after former owner Donald Sterling was fired for making racial slurs that were caught on tape. Ballmer ultimately signed Rivers to a five-year, $55 million contract extension to continue as president and coach after that year. Rivers had originally agreed to a three-year, $21 million deal with the organization.

Following Sterling’s scandal and departure, Rivers led the franchise two Western Conference semifinals appearances. This offseason, the Clippers re-signed All-Star forward Blake Griffin and made a sign-and-trade deal with the Denver Nuggets to acquire forward Danilo Gallinari in July.

In four years as Clippers coach, Rivers boasts a 217-111 regular-season record and is 18-22 in the postseason. He helped the Celtics reach two NBA Finals, and guided Boston to the 2008 national championship.

The Clippers also hired Jerry West as an advisor in June. 

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 29: Head coach Doc Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers argues with referee Ken Mauer #41 after a technical foul call against the Brooklyn Nets in overtime at Barclays Center on November 29, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

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Written by Pablo Mena

Writer and assistant editor for usports.org. NY Giants and Rangers fan. Film and TV enthusiast (especially Harry Potter and The Office) and lover of foreign languages and cultures.

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