Clippers owner Steve Ballmer reveals how difficult it was to fire Doc Rivers
One of this year’s biggest offseason moves was the L.A. Clippers parting ways with former head coach Doc Rivers. The decision to let their seven-year tactician came less than two weeks after Rivers and the Clippers infamously blew a 3-1 lead against the Denver Nuggets inside the bubble in Orlando.
Although the move was seen as quite imperative after the lack of success the Clippers have achieved under Rivers’ tutelage, it was still a tough pill to swallow for team owner Steve Ballmer.
“Doc, I would call my mentor in the league,” Ballmer told Rachel Nichols of ESPN. “I don’t know what it’s like for most people when they first come in as governors. I didn’t know what I was doing. I learned more from Doc than I did from anybody else, and I really appreciate his mentorship. But it was time, it was time to try something a little bit different.”
Rivers was in his first season in LA when Ballmer stepped in and they’ve kept a close business relationship for the last seven seasons. But, as Ballmer puts its, Doc’s time with the Clippers was up and it was time to try something new.
This season, Ballmer and Rivers have officially parted ways as the latter tries to win his second NBA title as a head coach with the Philadelphia 76ers. Meanwhile, Ballmer is keen on having another run at the title with head coach Tyron Lue.
This isn’t the first time that Ballmer had to make difficult cuts in his time in LA. In 2018, Ballmer and the rest of the front office made a decision to split up Lob City, shipping out Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons. Though Griffin was seen as the franchise player for the Clippers ever since he got drafted in 2009, like Rivers in 2020, the time to move on had arrived.
Ballmer hopes this is the right decision moving forward as the Clippers try to live up to the hype of being legitimate title contenders./