The outcome of the Los Angeles Clippers’ ongoing legal battle over team ownership will also determine whether or not head coach Doc Rivers stays with the franchise.
Clippers interim CEO Dick Parsons testified Tuesday in the trial to determine if Shelly Sterling, the wife of embattled team owner Donald Sterling, can sell the franchise for $2 billion to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. While testifying, Parsons said Rivers would resign as head coach of Donald Sterling remained in control.
“Doc is troubled by this maybe moreso than anybody else,” Parsons said, according to the Associated Press. “If Mr. Sterling continues as owner, he does not want to continue as coach.”
"If Doc were to leave, that would be a disaster," Parsons added. "Doc is the father figure of the team. Chris [Paul] is the on court captain of the team. But Doc is really the guy who leads the effort. He's the coach, the grown-up, he's a man of character and ability -- not just in a basketball sense, but in the ability to connect with people and gain their trust. ... If he were to leave, that is only going to accelerate the death spiral."
The 2014-15 NBA season would mark the second year of the three-year, $21 million contract that Rivers signed with the Clippers in 2013. In his first season as head coach, Rivers led the team to a franchise record 57 wins and a berth in the Western Conference semifinals.
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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced in April the league would ban Sterling for life and force the sale of the Clippers after a recording of racist statements made by the 80-year-old leaked to the public. The NBA tapped Parsons May 9 to serve as the team’s interim CEO.
Initially, Sterling gave his wife permission to sell the Clippers, only to change his mind and challenge the sale in court. He has since claimed in testimony he is not a racist and vowed he will never willingly sell the team.