Within the last few years, the practice of an NBA head coach holding general manager duties has become less common — Mike Budenholzer, Stan Van Gundy, and Tom Thibodeau held those dual roles in Atlanta, Detroit, and Minnesota respectively, but ultimately parted ways with those organizations.
The only coach who had his front-office duties removed but still remains with the same team is Doc Rivers, who continues to coach the Clippers despite no longer serving as the club’s GM. Speaking to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (podcast link), Rivers admitted that the GM job was “too big” to do on his own, adding that he felt comfortable transitioning out of it as long as he still had some input in personnel decisions.
The fact that the Clippers promoted Lawrence Frank to run their front office, rather than making an outside hire, also allowed Rivers to feel comfortable making the adjustment.
“I’m the one who brought Lawrence in,” Rivers told Wojnarowski. “It would have been interesting if they said, ‘We’re taking your power away and we’re going to hire someone else.’ … There’s no way I would’ve been here without Lawrence staying.”
The change in title for Rivers has been a success, as his work on the sidelines for the 2018/19 Clippers represents perhaps the best coaching performance of his long career.
As we wait to see how far Rivers can take the Clippers in the postseason, let’s round up a few more Pacific notes…
- Moving from the Grizzlies to the Clippers at last month’s trade deadline will pay off financially for forward JaMychal Green, who secured a $200K bonus when L.A. clinched a spot in the postseason on Tuesday, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. That incentive had been included in the two-year deal Green signed with Memphis back in 2017.
- In an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Marks previews the Kings‘ offseason, which will see the team facing decisions on a handful of key contributors. Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield will become eligible for contract extensions, while Willie Cauley-Stein will reach restricted free agency.
- After never missing more than 13 games in a season during his first 15 years in the NBA, LeBron James will miss at least 20 in 2018/19 due to injuries and rest. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst explores whether this season is a blip on the radar for James, or whether the Lakers should plan on nagging injury concerns becoming the “new normal” for the 34-year-old going forward.