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
NEW YORK – (Staff report from Official news release) – The BIG EAST Conference today announced the launch of “BIG EAST Shootaround,” a live weekly online show that focuses on the league’s premier sport of men’s basketball in a full digital-forward approach. The first episode will air on Thursday, Aug. 10, and continue weekly over the coming year. The show will be distributed on FOX Sports GO, the BIG EAST Facebook page and @BIGEAST Twitter handle and via podcast on iTunes, Google Play and Stitcher.
BIG EAST Shootaround will feature behind the scenes, in-depth stories from the Conference’s 10 member schools. John Fanta, a Seton Hall alum and senior BIG EAST correspondent, will serve as the show’s host, and guests will include coaches, basketball student-athletes, media members and other basketball insiders. Women’s basketball coverage will be included in the programming mix.
The first show will feature Seton Hall seniors Angel Delgado, Desi Rodriguez, Khadeen Carrington and Ismael Sanogo from the BIG EAST Conference offices in midtown Manhattan.
“BIG EAST Shootaround is designed to provide coverage of BIG EAST Basketball all year round, not just during basketball season,” said Rick Gentile BIG EAST Senior Associate Commissioner, Broadcasting. “Our schools’ basketball programs don’t take off from April through October, and our supporters are eager to keep up with off-season stories and developments. We aim to fill the void in media coverage during that period with news, interviews and updates from each of our campuses and reach all of our audiences in all places.”
BIG EAST Shootaround will be interactive as fans can submit questions for Fanta and guests on Twitter and on Facebook with the hashtag #BEshootaround.
OXNARD — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones opened training camp by declaring war on the NFL in the ongoing investigation into domestic violence allegations against star running back Ezekiel Elliott. The NFL has ended its year-long investigation into the accusations brought against Elliott by a former girlfriend.
The Columbus (Ohio) attorney’s office dropped the case because of “conflicting and inconsistent” information. Elliott has maintained his innocence all along.
ESPN has reported that Elliott should brace for a one- or two-game suspension.
But Jones let it be known at the start of training camp that Elliott did nothing wrong and he should not be punished.
It was a clear and present message to the NFL that Jones is ready to fight if he is indeed suspended.
“There’s nothing … I have reviewed everything as you know. There is absolutely nothing, not one thing, that I’ve seen that has anything to do with domestic violence,” Jones said. “I don’t want to answer any more. But I’ve seen nothing.”
Jones was absolute in his comments, just as he was a year ago. He has long maintained that the NFL had no cause and no case.
The only thing that has changed recently is the NFL has completed its report. Elliott and the NFL Players Association have submitted “a final response” to the league.
Jones claims he has seen the report. Nothing has changed his mind.
“I found nothing since we were standing here this time last year,” Jones said. “And I knew everything in that report, I knew that this time last year. Those are their concerns because you need to get this stuff behind you.”
Jones not only claims that nothing happened, but that there is not a discrepancy among the participants.
“My opinion is there is not even an issue of ‘he said, she said,'” Jones said. “There is not even an issue there.”
The NFL doesn’t need a court conviction or even a court case to levy discipline against a player for conduct detrimental to the league.
The league has a taken a long time investigating this case to make sure it gets it right after so many past mistakes.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the league “wants to pin something” on Elliott as a lesson for his repeated mistakes in judgement.
But Jones is not going to let it happen without a fight.
And he is seemingly not going to let his upcoming induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame get in the way of his battle with the NFL over Elliott.
He brought up the New England Patriots as an example of a team that overcame the distraction of quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension last season and went on to win the Super Bowl.
Seemingly, the bigger lesson for Jones comes from Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who admittedly regretted not fighting the NFL sanctions and penalties from the Deflategate controversy.
“I don’t want to in any way speculate,” Jones said. “I don’t know that there’s anything I could say that might influence, but I don’t want anything I’ve said over the last week to be interpreted as a feeling or a speculation about his status, relative to a suspension. It shouldn’t be. It should be just reflective as what I am here and what I know.”
ROOKIE TO WATCH
–CB Chidobe Awuzie will start out at outside cornerback with hopes of breaking into the starting lineup. He will also be given reps at nickel, but could eventually be competing with Jeff Heath for the starting spot at strong safety. The Cowboys want to find a way to get him on the field
SPRINGFIELD, Mass – (Staff Report from Official News Release) – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced a partnership with IMG and its collegiate sports marketing wing to focus and stage a series of premier basketball events for both men and women at the collegiate level. As a non-profit institution committed to promoting and celebrating the game of basketball at all levels, the Basketball Hall of Fame is attempting to elevate its roster of collegiate events and through this new partnership, IMG College and the Hall will collaborate on existing events in the portfolio – with a focus on event planning, sponsorship sales, television and ticket sales – while seeking to create new events in locations of mutual interest.
“The Basketball Hall of Fame is proud to celebrate college basketball,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “Our partnership with IMG will support expansion of our portfolio of events, providing memorable experiences for athletes and fans from coast to coast.”
“We are happy to partner with the Basketball Hall of Fame on this exciting slate of college basketball events,” said Tim Pernetti, President, IMG College. “Through this relationship, we will help to elevate the Hall of Fame’s existing portfolio and also provide new solutions for schools across the country in the event space.”
As part of this partnership, which begins with the 2017-18 season, the Basketball Hall of Fame will collaborate with IMG on previously staged and announced events hosting 14 teams at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut, six teams at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and four teams at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami in the 2017-18 basketball season.