LOS ANGELES – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer announced Friday that Doc Rivers will no longer be the team’s president of basketball operations, allowing him to concentrate on his primary coaching duties. Ballmer said Lawrence Frank, the team’s executive vice president, will assume responsibility for basketball operations. Frank also will oversee general manager Dave Wohl.
Both Rivers, 55, and Frank, 46, will report directly to the owner.
“Doc knows how to win championships,” Ballmer said in a news release. “That is what we prioritize, and that is what Doc will focus on. He is key to integrating our new players with our returning players and taking us to new heights on the court.”
Rivers will continue to have a strong voice in personnel and organizational matters and will partner with Frank, Ballmer later told ESPN on Friday.
“I’ve owned the team for three years now, and I really better understand what an owner’s responsibility is — and it turns out that running a franchise and coaching are two enormous and different jobs,” Ballmer told ESPN. “The notion that one person can fairly focus on them and give them all the attention they need isn’t the case. To be as good as we can be, to be a championship franchise, we need two functioning strong people building teams out beneath them. There needs to be a healthy discussion and debate with two strong, independent-minded people.
“There are different relationships that a player needs to have with the coach and the front office. Doc put Lawrence in charge of the non-coaching aspects of the front office last year, and he’s done a fantastic job. I want each of them to dig in and do what they do best. Lawrence has come on so strong in that role, and that has helped us go down this path.”
The Clippers now will be operating without Chris Paul, who was traded to the Houston Rockets in June after the All-Star point guard said he planned to leave the franchise in free agency.
“I want to have a world-class front office that identifies college and pro talent, that works with the agents and that has a long-range strategy that is based upon thinking through the analytics and options available to us,” Ballmer told ESPN.
Rivers and Ballmer promoted Frank to oversee the day-to-day operations of the front office a year ago. Frank is a two-time head coach with the New Jersey (now Brooklyn) Nets and the Detroit Pistons.
Rivers, who left the Boston Celtics to join the Clippers as the franchise’s top basketball executive and coach four years ago, inherited a depleted front office in the aftermath of former owner Donald Sterling’s racially-charged audio tape scandal.
Ballmer purchased the Clippers for $2 billion and ultimately signed Rivers to a five-year, $55 million contract extension to continue as president and coach in 2014.
In four years as Clippers coach, Rivers has a 217-111 regular-season record, including 18-22 in the playoffs. He reached the NBA Finals twice as Celtics coach, winning the 2008 championship
BOSTON – (Staff report from Official News Release) – The Boston Celtics signed free agent guard Shane Larkin. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Larkin (5-11, 175 lbs.) most recently played for Laboral Kutxa Baskonia in Spain last season where he played a total of 72 games (70 starts) split between ACB league play, the Euroleague and the Spanish Cup. The 24-year-old played in 37 games for Baskonia in ACB play, averaging 14.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.38 steals in 28.0 minutes. The University of Miami product also appeared in 33 games of the Euroleague, notching 12.1 points (34.3% 3-PT), 2.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.27 steals.
Traded to Dallas on a draft-night trade after initially being selected 18th overall by Atlanta in the 2013 NBA Draft, Larkin holds NBA averages of 5.8 points (43.0% FG, 32.8% 3-PT, 76.2% FT), 2.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.06 steals and 20.3 minutes in 202 career games (39 starts) over three seasons with Dallas, New York and Brooklyn.
Larkin’s best NBA season was his most recent one, when the Cincinnati, OH native produced career highs in points (7.3 ppg), rebounds (2.3 rpg), assists (4.4 apg) and shooting percentages (44.2% FG, 36.1% 3-PT) in 78 games (17 starts) with the Nets in 2015-16.
BOSTON – (Staff Report from Official News Release) – The Boston Celtics announced that they have signed 10-time NBA All-Star and 19-year veteran Paul Pierce to a contract, enabling him to retire as a member of the organization with which he spent his first 15 NBA seasons.
“We’re honored that Paul has chosen to retire as a Celtic. He is among the very best Celtics – a champion on and off the court,” said Celtics governor and managing partner Wyc Grousbeck. “We congratulate Paul on a Hall of Fame career, and look forward to seeing his number raised to the rafters of TD Garden.”
“It’s an honor to have this opportunity to once again call myself a Boston Celtic,” Pierce said. “The organization and city took me in and made me one of their own, and I couldn’t imagine ending my career any other way. I’m a Celtic for life.”
Drafted by the Celtics with the 10th overall pick of the 1998 NBA Draft, Pierce’s 15 seasons in Boston from 1998-99 to 2012-13 trails only John Havlicek (16) for the most ever spent in a Celtics uniform. He produced 21.8 points (44.7% FG, 37.0% 3-PT, 80.6% FT), 6.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.44 steals and 36.6 minutes in 1,102 career games (1,099 starts) in the green and white.
Pierce’s name will forever be a constant throughout the Celtics’ all-time leaderboards. The California native tops the franchise lists in three-point field goals (1,823), free throws (6,434) and steals (1,583), while also placing as the Celtics’ second all-time leading scorer with 24,021 career points.
Earning his iconic nickname “The Truth” during his third NBA season in 2000-01, Pierce also retires in the organization’s top-10 lists in games played (3rd – 1 ,102), minutes played (3rd – 40,360), field goals (3rd – 7,882), field goal attempts (2nd – 17,630), three-point field goal attempts (1st – 4,928), free throw attempts (1st – 7,979), offensive rebounds (8th – 1,008), rebounds (7th – 6,651), assists (5th – 4,305) and blocked shots (4th – 668).
Pierce’s knack for postseason success further cements his legendary status in a Celtics uniform. Boston qualified for the playoffs in 10 of Pierce’s 15 seasons with the team, ranking him seventh on the franchise’s all-time playoff leaderboard with 136 postseason games played. The crafty forward averaged 20.9 points (41.9% FG, 33.9% 3-PT, 83.4% FT), 6.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.32 steals in 39.8 minutes in his Celtics playoff career. Pierce – who owns the fifth most playoff points in franchise history at 2,843 – averaged north of 20.0 points in six separate postseason runs, including a playoff career-high 27.1 points over 10 games in just his second career playoff appearance in 2002-03.
One of Pierce’s greatest postseason accomplishments coincides with the Celtics’ most recent NBA title in 2008. Making his first career NBA Finals appearance, Pierce followed up a 22-point performance against the Los Angeles Lakers in a Game 1 victory with 28 more points on 9-of-16 shooting (4-4 3-PT) and eight assists in Boston’s Game 2 triumph. His 38 points in Game 5 of those Finals represented his second-highest scoring total in 26 postseason games that year. Pierce produced 21.8 points (43.2% FG, 39.3% 3-PT, 83.0% FT), 4.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.08 steals and 38.8 minutes in that six-game series, helping the Celtics raise their NBA-record 17th championship banner and their first since 1986. Named the Most Valuable Player of that 2008 clash, Pierce became the third Celtic ever to earn MVP honors in his first NBA Finals Appearance (Jo Jo White – 1974, Cedric Maxwell – 1981).
Spanning over his 19-year NBA career, Pierce averaged 19.7 points (44.5% FG, 36.8% 3-PT, 80.6% FT), 5.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.31 steals and 34.2 minutes in 1,343 games (1,285 starts) with Boston, Brooklyn, Washington and the LA Clippers. He ended the 2016-17 season as the only active NBA player with at least 25,000 career points, 7,000 rebounds and 4,500 assists.
LAS VEGAS – The NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved rules changes pertaining to timeout format and procedures for administrating free throws and halftime.
Effective with the 2017-18 season, the maximum number of timeouts per game will decrease from 18 to 14. In addition, during the last three minutes of a game, teams will be limited to two team timeouts each instead of the previous rule that allowed three per team in the last two minutes.
“These changes will help us fulfill our goal of improving game flow and pace of play,” said Byron Spruell, NBA President, League Operations. “Fewer stoppages and less time without action, especially at the end of a game, will further enhance the viewing experience for our fans.”
The rule modifications for timeouts are below:
- Each team will have seven timeouts per game, with no restrictions per half.
- All team timeouts will be 75 seconds. In the previous format, “full” timeouts were 90 seconds and “20-second” timeouts were 60 seconds. Both “full” and “20-second” timeouts have been replaced by team timeouts.
- All four periods will have two mandatory timeouts, which will take place after the first stoppage under the seven- and three-minute marks.
- The under-nine-minute mandatory timeouts in the second and fourth periods will be eliminated.
- Each team can enter the fourth period with up to four team timeouts.
- Each team will be limited to two team timeouts after the later of (i) the three-minute mark of the fourth period or (ii) the resumption of play after the second mandatory timeout of the fourth period.
- Each team will have two team timeouts per overtime period; previously teams had three.
The NBA also made the following changes regarding game flow:
- Referees will assess a delay-of-game violation if a free throw shooter ventures beyond the three-point line between attempts.
- Halftime will last 15 minutes for all games, beginning immediately upon expiration of the second period. A delay-of-game penalty will be issued if a team is not ready to start play at the expiration of the halftime clock.
In addition, the Board of Governors approved moving the trade deadline from the Thursday after the NBA All-Star Game to the Thursday 10 days before the All-Star Game. With the new placement of the trade deadline, teams will be able to settle their rosters before the All-Star break and avoid the disruptions that result from players joining new teams just as practices and games are beginning to resume following the All-Star break.
The NBA’s Competition Committee unanimously recommended the rules changes before the Board of Governors’ vote.
LAS VEGAS – Ron Rothstein, a loyal and innovative assistant coach for five different NBA teams and winner of three NBA championships during his illustrious career, was named the recipient of the 2017 Tex Winter assistant coach Lifetime Impact Award, the National Basketball Coaches Association announced during the NBA Summer League events in Las Vegas.
“Ron Rothstein is most deserving of this prestigious recognition,” said Dallas Mavericks Head Coach and NBCA President Rick Carlisle. “Over several decades, Ronnie has helped countless players and coaches become their very best while continually helping promote the NBA game. I had the privilege to work with Coach Rothstein during the 2003-04 season. As an assistant for me in Indiana that year, Ron was a high impact contributor to our Pacers team that set a franchise record with 61 wins. More recently, Ronnie was top assistant to Erik Spoelstra during Miami’s run of back-to-back Championships in 2012 and 2013,”
“I would like to thank the NBCA for the honor of being chosen as this year’s recipient of the Tex Winter assistant coach Lifetime Impact Award. This is not only an honor, it is also a truly humbling experience,” said Rothstein in accepting the award.
“Over the course of my 22 years as an Assistant Coach, I have been fortunate enough to work for seven outstanding Head Coaches. It all started in 1979 when Mike Fratello recommended me to Hubie Brown, then Head Coach of the Atlanta Hawks. Hubie hired me as a part-time regional NBA scout while I was still a high school teacher and coach. My first full-time Assistant Coaching job was with Mike Fratello and the Atlanta Hawks. Following that, I joined Chuck Daly and the Detroit Pistons. Next, I rejoined Mike Fratello with the Cleveland Cavaliers, followed by Rick Carlisle and the Indiana Pacers, and then finished the last 10 years of my coaching career with the Miami Heat, working for Stan Van Gundy, Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra. Not many Coaches get as lucky as I did to work with and for so many brilliant and successful Head Coaches. I can’t thank them enough for all that they have done for my family and me over the course of my career,” he continued.
“Thanks, also, to the GM’s I have had the privilege to work for: Stan Kasten (Atlanta Hawks), the late Jack McCloskey (Detroit Pistons), Wayne Embry (Cleveland Cavaliers), Donnie Walsh/Larry Bird (Indiana Pacers) and Pat Riley (Miami Heat). Not many Coaches can put together a list like that. What a privilege it was to work for them.
“To all the players I have had the good fortune to work with, thank you for all that you have done to contribute to my success. Obviously, none of this was possible without your dedication, hard work, talent, and professionalism.
“I have been fortunate enough to have lived and worked in the NBA through the golden years, all the way to the wildly successful years of today’s new NBA era. All my family and I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you.
“Last but not least, a huge thank you to my beautiful wife of 51 years, Olivia, who has been by my side every step of the way, and to my children and grandchildren, as well, for all their love and support.”
Rothstein, who has spent over 50 years in the game and 26 years on an NBA bench, began his NBA career in 1979 as the northeastern U.S. regional scout for the Atlanta Hawks. In 1982, he moved to a similar position with the New York Knicks before becoming an Assistant Coach with the Hawks in 1983. After spending three seasons on the Hawks bench, Rothstein joined the Detroit Pistons coaching staff as an Assistant Coach in 1986 where he was credited with establishing the defensive mindset and principles that helped the Pistons reach the Eastern Conference Finals in 1987 and the NBA Finals in 1988.
He was the Miami Heat’s first Head Coach in 1988 and led the team for three years, increasing the team’s victory total each year. He also served as Head Coach of the Detroit Pistons and General Manager and Head Coach of the WNBA’s Miami Sol for their three years of existence.
Rothstein spent the last 10 years of his renowned coaching career as an Assistant Coach for the Miami Heat. After helping win the 2006 NBA Championship as an Assistant Coach for Pat Riley, he transitioned to Erik Spoelstra’s staff where he was a part of two more championship teams. Overall, he coached in 9 Eastern Conference Championships and 6 NBA Finals.
Prior to joining the NBA, Rothstein was a high school coach for 19 years and was selected Westchester County (NY) Coach of the Year in 1979 while at Eastchester High School in New York.
Rothstein was inducted into the University of Rhode Island (his alma mater) Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989 and in 2010 he received the Ram Legend Award from U.R.I. Additionally, he was inducted into the Miami Sports Hall of Champions in 2005 and the Westchester County (NY) Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.
The National Basketball Coaches Association Tex Winter Assistant Coach Lifetime Impact Award honors the tremendous achievements and commitment of Hall of Fame Tex Winter, who over an outstanding NBA coaching career set a standard of integrity, competitive excellence, loyalty, and tireless promotion of NBA basketball. The Lifetime Impact Award is selected annually by the Award Selection Committee. This Committee is comprised of some of the most respected coaches and basketball executives in the game, including Rick Adelman, Hubie Brown, Doug Collins, Wayne Embry, Danny Ferry, Mike Fratello, George Karl, Doc Rivers, Rod Thorn, and Lenny Wilkens.
This year’s nominees included Assistant Coaches Ron Adams, Jim Boylan, Hank Egan, Jim Eyen, Tim Grgurich, Frank Hamblen, Dick Helm, Brian Hill, Jim Lynam, Brendan Malone, Bob McAdoo, Brendan Suhr and Bob Weiss.
Phil Johnson was the inaugural winner of the award, presented for the first time in 2016.