Doc Rivers never met Clippers interim CEO Dick Parsons personally.
But after a few phone conversations Friday morning and researching Parsons’ history as a chairman for both Citigroup and Time Warner, Rivers called the NBA’s latest move “a very good hire.”
Rivers said both the NBA and Clippers consulted him during their week-long process to find a temporary replacement after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued Donald Sterling a life-time ban for making racially disparaging remarks on an audio tape about two weeks ago. This week, Clippers president Andy Roeser took an indefinite leave of absence.
“They’ve done a great job of keeping me up to date with what they’re doing,” Rivers said before Game 3 of the Clippers-Thunder series Friday at Staples Center. “I trust the league in this so well. They’re smarter than me in this. I don’t havea lot to say to be honest. I don’t think I should have a lot to say.”
But Rivers did, devoting nearly half of his pre-game press conference on issues that go beyond bouncing back from a Game 2 loss. That included Rivers suggesting he has second-guessed himself for allowing Sterling’s wife, Shelly, to attend Game of the Clippers-Warriors first-round series. Since then, court documents emerged that accused her of denigrating African Americans, Latinos and once posing as a health inspector. Shelly was also listed in numerous housing discrimination lawsuits against Donald’s real estate properties. Meanwhile, But Shelly’s attorney, Pierce O’Donnell, has sent out repeated statements this week about Shelly’s intent to maintain her ownership stake, which is supported by a trust fund that both Donald and Shelly shares.
“At the time, you make a decision and you think it’s the right decision,” Rivers said. “I would love to go back and do life over again. I don’t know if we can do that, that I know of. It’s still a very murky situation. I don’t think that’s going to change for a while. It is what it is and we’ll deal with it. We’re going to do our best.”
Parsons told this newspaper in an interview earlier today that he essentially replaces Sterling and Roeser to oversee the business operations while Rivers will oversee basketball. This arrangement will remain intact until the NBA prevails in forcing Sterling to sell the team, a scenario many around the league envision will drag out through litigation.
Though Rivers has reported spending this week solely focused on basketball, he hardly sounded optimistic this issue will dissipate anytime soon.
“I would love to feel that way, but we all know that’s not true,” Rives said. “From my standpoint, we’re focusing on basketball. If something else comes up, you come up and you deal with it. It’s not like I’m going to wait around, sit and wait for it to come. I’m going to sit around and coach my team. If something comes up, then we deal with it. Life happens. So what, you have to deal with it.”