Clippers to hold five-day training camp at Nevada Las Vegas

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Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

Chris Paul and the Clippers will make their training-camp headquarters for the 2014-15 season at University of Nevada Las Vegas, the team announced Monday.

The five-day camp will take place Sept. 30-Oct. 4 and will  include two-a-day practices the first four days with a single practice on Oct. 4.

“Getting away for training camp offers our team a unique opportunity to bond and focus solely on basketball as we prepare for the season,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “UNLV has first-class facilities and we are excited about starting the season in Las Vegas.”

The Clippers will play an eight-game exhibition schedule with the first game slated for Oct. 7 against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center.

The regular season begins Oct. 30 when the Clippers play host to Oklahoma City.

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Clippers sign Chris Douglas-Roberts and Ekpe Udoh

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Chris Douglas-Roberts

Chris Douglas-Roberts/Photo courtesy of Charlotte Hornets

The Clippers on Wednesday announced they have signed free agents guard Chris Douglas-Roberts and power forward/post Ekpe Udoh. Terms were not disclosed.

Douglas-Roberts averaged 6.9 points, 2.0 rebounds and one assist in 49 games this past season for Charlotte. He shot 44 percent from the field – 38.6 percent from 3-point range -  and 80.5 percent from the free-throw line. He is 27.

Udoh, who is 6-foot-10 and 240 pounds, averaged 3.4 points and 3.5 rebounds in 42 games for Milwaukee. He is 26.

“Chris and Ekpe are two versatile players who bring depth and a strong presence to our team,” coach Doc Rivers said. “We are excited to add them to our roster.”

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Doc Rivers signs five-year contract extension

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Clippers sign Doc Rivers to contract extension

Doc Rivers (left) and Steve Ballmer/Staff photo by David Crane

 

The Clippers on Wednesday announced that Doc Rivers, head coach and president of basketball operations, has signed a five-year contract extension through the 2018-19 season.

“This is an important day for this organization,” Clippers owner Steve Ballmer said. “I am excited to work with Doc for a long time as we build a championship culture that will deliver results both on and off the court.
“Not only is Doc one of the best coaches and executives in the game, but he continually embodies the hard-core, committed and resilient character and winning culture that the Clippers represent. It was one of my top priorities to ensure that he was firmly in place as the long-term leader of this team.”

Rivers, who in 2013-14 led the Clippers to a franchise-record 57 victories in his first season at the helm, has been impressed with the energy brought by Ballmer, who recently purchased the team from Shelly Sterling after her husband Donald lost control of the team following his highly publicized racist comments.

“Steve has shown a clear and determined desire to make the Clippers one of the most elite, first-class and championship organizations in all of professional sports,” Rivers said. “We know we have work to do to get there, but I am motivated by the challenge and thankful for the opportunity to stand together with Steve as we continue to move toward our goal of winning an NBA title.”

Rivers is entering his 16th season as a head coach, having previously held that position with the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics. Rivers, 52, is one of three active coaches – Gregg Popovich (Spurs) and Flip Saunders (Timberwolves) with at least 600 victories. Rivers has 644.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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Steve Ballmer admits he was ‘nervous’ at Monday’s fan festival

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Steve Ballmer/Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News

One would never know that new Clippers owner Steve Ballmer gets nervous, what with the powerful yet zany way he goes about addressing large groups of people.

When Ballmer made his way through the fans seated inside Staples Center at Monday’s fan festival, Ballmer was his typical wild and crazy self, high-fiving fans with gusto. He got to the dais and started screaming, with fans loving every second of it. But he was jittery, or so he says.

“I was pretty nervous, I’ll admit,” Ballmer said. “I was pretty nervous before I went out. I asked (coach) Doc (Rivers), ‘What do you do?’ I thought maybe he had been to a fan rally before. I know what to do with folks in the tech industry, blah blah. Tech industry, you don’t get a lot of guys really excited about the tech. Turns out sports fans and tech guys might be different, but they still get fired up about the things they’re fired up about.”

Ballmer, 58 is the former CEO of Microsoft.

 

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Doc Rivers has no issue with Shelly Sterling the fan being courtside

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News Clippers owner Steve Ballmer passionately addresses fans at the Clippers fan festival on Monday at Staples Center. (Photo by David Crane, Staff Photographer)

 

Don’t be surprised if what was negotiated in the Steve Ballmer purchase of the Clippers isn’t met with open arms by Clippers fans in attendance at Staples Center this season. The $2 billion Ballmer spent is what it is. If that’s what he wanted to pay, we have no problem with that. But Shelly Sterling, who did broker the deal with Ballmer, also gets all this, according to the Associated Press:

- 10 tickets in Sections 101 or 111 for all Clippers games in Los Angeles.

- 2 courtside tickets for all Clippers games in Los Angeles.

- 6 parking spots in Lot C for each game

- 12 VIP passes including access to Lexus Club, Arena Club, or Chairman’s Lounge and media room or equivalent, for each Staples Game.

- 3 championship rings following any Clippers title

- Titles of “Owner Emeritus” and “Clipper’s Number 1 Fan” for the rest of her life.

Doc Rivers, coach and president of basketball operations, was asked at Monday’s post-fan festival news conference at Staples Center what he thinks of Shelly Sterling sitting courtside at home games.
“Shelly, I look at her now as, number one, what I’ve heard, this deal doesn’t get done; I think we all understand that,” he said. “You can say what you want about Shelley, but without her, this deal does not get done. I think we have to understand that. The second part is she wants to be a fan. She’s no longer the owner. But she wants to be a fan. I’m fine with that. What’s wrong with being a fan?”

Ballmer was able to agree to those perks partly because there was no one to tell him he couldn’t.

“I did this deal by myself and I’m happy I did,” he said. “I think it required a little bit of flexibility and maneuvering. Kind of a little easier to dance and move a little bit when you’re by yourself as opposed to with others.”

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Jordan Farmar talks about getting to stay home in Los Angeles with the Clippers

SAN DIEGO - 03/18/06 - ©DAILY BREEZE PHOTO: SCOTT VARLEY -- UCLA vs. Alabama in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament at Cox Arena. UCLA won 62-59. Jordan Farmar drives to the basket in the 2nd half.

SAN DIEGO – 03/18/06 – ©DAILY BREEZE PHOTO: SCOTT VARLEY — UCLA vs. Alabama in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament at Cox Arena. UCLA won 62-59. Jordan Farmar drives to the basket in the 2nd half.

With the Clippers signing of free agent Jordan Farmar, who spent last season with city rival the Los Angeles Lakers (including a stint in 2006-10), the obvious was there: Farmar would be staying in L.A., but in a different uniform.

But Farmar’s choice to stay close to home went deeper then leaving a rebuilding team to a legitimate contender.

“It’s huge, I mean Los Angeles is really special to me. I get a chance to live in my house and be around my friends and family and see my kids grow up,” said Farmar, who went to Taft and UCLA. “Those are all the things that are important to me outside of basketball.”

The Clippers were able to capitalize on the Lakers focusing their attention on luring superstar free agents LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony to L.A.

“It would’ve been an easy decision if the Lakers said, ‘We want to make you a point guard and offer you ‘X, Y and Z and we would love to have you here,’” Farmar told the L.A. Daily News’ Mark Medina. “But those weren’t the conversations going back and forth. So it wasn’t a choice for me to make.”

The Lakers’ attention elsewhere coupled with Rivers’ persistence and desire to get Farmar in a Clippers uniform put the contenders, who were two wins away from the Western Conference Finals in the driver’s seat for his services.

“(Doc) was definitely the first person I talked to. I just landed at LAX, my phone started ringing as soon as I got service, he was the first person that called and he kept calling and he was persistent,” said Farmar. “And that was a good feeling to feel wanted and to feel like you were going to be part of something special.”

This season the 27-year-old was plagued by groin and hamstring injuries, costing him 41 games. When he did play Farmar was effective, averaging 10.1 points per game, 4.9 assists and 2.5 rebounds. Farmar fills the hole left by the departure of backup guard Darren Collison, who opted out of his final year with the Clippers and joined the Sacramento Kings.

Farmar’s deal is for two years and worth $4.2 million.

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Doc Rivers shows his sense of humor during unhappy post-game news conference

Coach Doc Rivers didn’t have anything for which to be happy after his team was eliminated by the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals by a score of 104-98 Thursday night at Staples Center.

But when a reporter informed him that shamed team owner Donald Sterling had said through a newly hired attorney that he wasn’t going to pay the $2.5 million fine levied him by the NBA on the heels of his infamous racist comments, Rivers couldn’t resist.

“I’m not paying my $25,000, either,” Rivers said. Laughs all around from a large group of reporters.

Rivers a day earlier was fined $25,000 for his heavy criticism of officials after the Clippers’ meltdown/controversial Game 5 loss at OKC on Tuesday.

 

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Doc Rivers fined $25,000 for blasting officials after Game 5 defeat

Coach Doc Rivers on Thursday was fined $25,000 by the NBA for his sharp criticism of officials that worked Game 5 of his team’s Western Conference semifinals series at Oklahoma City on Tuesday.

Rivers lashed out in the post-game news conference after his team blew a 13-point lead with 4:11 to play, losing 105-104 to fall behind 3-2 in the series. The play in question was an out-of-bounds play where the ball certainly appeared to go off the hand of OKC’s Reggie Jackson with 11.3 seconds to play. Officials said the replay was inconclusive and the call made on the court stood, the Thunder retaining possession of the ball.

That led to Chris Paul’s 3-point area foul on Russell Westbrook with 6.4 seconds left, and Westbrook made all three free throws for the winning points.

Afterward, Rivers referred to the call as “brutal” and “horrendous” and suggested officials were making up for not having called a foul on Matt Barnes on said play; it did appear Barnes fouled Jackson.

Barnes had Rivers’ back at the morning shootaround ahead of Game 6 Thursday night at Staples Center.

“I think it was needed,” Barnes said. “He’s done a great job all year of being a shield for this team with all the unfortunate stuff that’s come up during the playoffs.”

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NBA uses interesting wording when defending controversial play at end of Game 5

It’s kind of a moot point because coach Doc Rivers told reporters at practice Wednesday he wasn’t going to protest the controversial out-of-bounds call at the end of Game 5 on Tuesday at Oklahoma City,  but the NBA on Wednesday issued a rather interesting statement on it.

“With 11.3 seconds left in the game, the basketball went out of bounds on the baseline and the referees ruled the ball belonged to the Thunder,” Rod Thorn, president of basketball operations for the NBA, said in the statement. “The referees then used instant replay to review the play. In order to reverse the call made on the court, there has to be ‘clear and conclusive’ evidence. Since no replay provided such evidence, the play correctly stood as called with the Thunder retaining possession.”

All due respect, it just seems funny that the statement included the word “correctly” in it when, from here, the Thunder’s Reggie Jackson last touched the ball. We saw the replay on a fellow reporter’s lap top afterward, and someone got a real terrific angle on it because if it didn’t go out of Jackson, then it was some kind of optical illusion.

Of course, there was lots more than that to the Clippers’ 105-104 loss. They know it. But it did play a role in them blowing a 13-point lead with just over four minutes to play. That also led to the foul by Chris Paul on Russell Westbrook, who made three free throws for the game’s final points.

Consequently, OKC  leads the series 3-2 and can close it out Thursday in Game 6 at Staples Center. If the Clippers prevail, Game 7 is Sunday at Oklahoma City.

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Clippers head coach Doc Rivers and Blake Griffin defend Chris Paul after Game 5 loss

Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Paul, Hedo Turkoglu (8), Jamal Crawford (11) and Blake Griffin (32) walk back to their bench in the closing minutes of a 118-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors during the second half in Game 4 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series on Sunday, April 27, 2014, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul, Hedo Turkoglu (8), Jamal Crawford (11) and Blake Griffin (32) walk back to their bench in the closing minutes of a 118-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors during the second half in Game 4 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series on Sunday, April 27, 2014, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

After the Clippers’ emotional 105-104 Game 5 collapse to the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road, where Los Angeles squandered a 13-point lead in the final four minutes of play, point-gaurd Chris Paul took the blame.

Paul’s stretch of play in the waning moments would make no highlight reel. Paul turned the ball over with 17.8 seconds left that led to the controversial out-of-bounds call involving Reggie Jackson and the Clippers’ Matt Barnes call with 11.6 seconds left.

After the review kept the ball with the Thunder, Paul fouled Russell Westbrook on the elbow as he attempted a three-point shot with 6.4 ticks left. Westbrook sunk all three for the 105-104 lead.

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