With the Clippers facing yet another early playoff exit, Doc Rivers may be on the hot seat. He was given complete control over the franchise when he arrived in 2013, and while the Clippers have won 50+ games in each of his four seasons, they haven’t been able to achieve success in the playoffs.
“I think for the most part, Coach Doc Rivers has done a good job, (but) Front Office Executive Doc Rivers has been hard to judge because he’s been operating with three massive contracts and has only been able to offer, for the most part, minimum contracts in his role,” Orange County Register Clippers writer Bill Oram said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “But there are some questionable moves, obviously. The one that’s kind of smacking them in the face in this series is letting Joe Ingles go.”
Rivers waived Ingles in October 2014. He now starts for the Jazz and has shut down J.J. Redick in four of the five games in their first-round playoff series. Utah leads 3-2 and hosts Game 6 on Friday at 10:30 p.m. ET.
The Clippers will play Game 6 just as they played Games 4 and 5: without Blake Griffin (toe), who is out for the rest of the postseason.
“I just think it’s really hard to judge this Clippers team and Doc Rivers when you consider the injuries, the bad luck that this team has had,” Oram said. “And at some point, you start to think, of course, that it isn’t just bad luck, that Blake Griffin isn’t just unlucky; he’s injury-prone – and that might lead the Clippers to let him go this summer. But it’s just been a really funky few years here. If you need a fall guy, then Doc Rivers is probably it. But he’s owed $22 million over the next couple of years. He’s not going to leave voluntarily.”
But if the Clippers bow out in the first round, changes could be coming.
“I think the real thing that we’re going to learn this summer is how Steve Ballmer operates as an owner,” Oram said. “That’s really a mystery. We haven’t seen him really have to make huge decisions with his franchise since he replaced Donald Sterling. The obvious move was to resign DeAndre Jordan. They got that done. But this summer, they’re facing Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and J.J. Redick, (who are) all free agents. We’re coming up on really massive sands of change for the Clippers.”