5:04pm: Parsons emphasized that he’d “try” to convince Rivers and the players to go through with this season if Sterling remained as the team owner, tweets Markazi.
4:47pm: Doc Rivers has told Clippers CEO Dick Parsons that he doesn’t think he’d want to continue as coach of the team if Donald Sterling were to remain as owner, as Parsons said today under oath during testimony in the Sterling probate trial, tweets Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Presumably that also applies to Rivers’ role in charge of the team’s player personnel as president of basketball operations. His departure would have the club in a “death spiral,” Parsons testified, according to Markazi (on Twitter).
“If Doc were to leave that would be a disaster,” Parsons said on the stand, as Markazi tweets. “Doc is the guy that leads the effort.”
Parsons, whom the league appointed in May to serve as a caretaker for the Clippers, also expressed concern that players would seek to leave the team, Markazi notes (Twitter link). The league has pursued a variety of avenues to wrest the team from Sterling, whom commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life this spring after a recording of racially charged statements emerged. Sterling has nonetheless lingered as he pursues legal action against the league and resists the sale of the team.
The trial is taking place to determine whether Shelly Sterling had the right to take control of the Sterling family trust that legally owns the Clippers and negotiate a deal to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The $2 billion that Ballmer agreed to put up for the franchise would be tough to match should the judge rule that Shelly Sterling acted outside of her rights, as Parsons testified, according to Markazi (Twitter link).
“In my opinion its going to be tough to get this price again,” Parsons said in testimony. “If Steve goes away I don’t know how you get to this number again.”
Rivers took weeks during the immediate wake of the Sterling scandal to dismiss the notion that he’d walk away from the Clippers, finally saying that he had no plans to leave and pointing to the two years remaining on his contract. Still, the possibility of next season starting with Donald Sterling in place as owner of the Clippers is one that Silver wouldn’t dismiss in remarks last week.