Dick Parsons

And-Ones: Clippers, Diawara, Mavs, Cavs

Interim Clippers CEO Dick Parsons will step down in a few weeks, as he tells the Fox Business Network, according to Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com (Twitter link). The move is no surprise now that Steve Ballmer has officially taken over the franchise, since Parsons said in May shortly after the league installed him as a caretaker for the team that he had no plans of remaining with the club after its ownership situation was resolved. Parsons has been acting as a “proxy owner,” as he put it, with final authority over any decisions president of basketball operations Doc Rivers made. Here’s more from around the league:

  • Multiple NBA teams had interest in bringing Yakhouba Diawara back to the league this summer, but he indicated on his Twitter account late Tuesday that he’s signing with Pallacanestro Varese of Italy (hat tip to Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). David Pick of Eurobasket.com confirms the news with a tweet of his own. Diawara worked out for the Raptors, Bucks and Nets over the past few months.
  • This season’s minimum salary in Ivan Johnson‘s two-year contract with the Mavs is guaranteed for only $25K, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link).
  • It appears as though the Cavs guaranteed $65K of the minimum salary for Alex Kirk this season, Pincus also tweets.

Doc Rivers Wants Out If Donald Sterling Stays

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.

Latest On Dick Parsons

We found out earlier today that Dick Parsons will be running the Clippers as their interim CEO as the league moves forward with its effort to strip banned owner Donald Sterling of the team. More details on the nature of his role are streaming in, mostly from the man himself. Here’s a roundup of the latest:

  • Parsons told Shelburne that he hopes his tenure is completed within months. “It’s interim and my hope would be that it’s months. How many, I can’t say,” said Parsons. “Because the longer this thing stays unresolved… this is not a pleasant story. We’ve got to get this behind us. But I can’t say anymore than anybody else can say how long it’s going to take. 
  • While still pledging to cede control to Doc Rivers for basketball matters including the draft, Parsons again told Shelburne that he is the ultimate authority in L.A. For example, Parsons said that he would give the final yes or no for free agent signings.
  • Rivers told reporters including Medina that he is on board with the installation of Parsons (Twitter link). “I trust the league in this so well,” said Rivers. “They’re smarter than me.”
  • Rivers called Parsons a “very good hire” for the Clippers, tweets Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

Earlier updates:

  • Magic Johnson offered warm praise of Parsons, taking to Twitter to call the interim CEO an “idol” of his. Johnson has interest in purchasing the Clippers.
  • Parsons told Aldridge that Adam Silver first approached him about the position on Monday.
  • While Parsons left Rivers in charge of basketball decisions, he maintains that he will still be the ultimate decision maker. “Every organization needs an ultimate leader. That doesn’t mean the ultimate leader has to make all the calls,” Parsons told Aldridge. “What I’ve said to [Rivers] is in my early background in law, I love and embrace the partnership approach to management. But at the end of the day, the CEO has to sign off on all the decisions.”
  • That lines up with his description of himself to Shelburne (Twitter link) as “proxy owner” for all team matters other than the “sale or alienation of the team.”
  • Parsons tells Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today that he has no plans to stay with the team beyond this time of transition, and characterized his job as a temporary, emergency fix for a “headless” organization. “It’s hurting the players, it’s hurting the team, it’s hurting the game, it’s hurting the fans, it’s hurting advertising and it’s hurting, frankly, the league. It’s blown up beyond that,” said Parsons. “It’s an issue that’s more important than the Clippers and even the NBA. … How we handle it in this country is going to be noted not just by people who live here but by people around the world. I’m happy to try and help.”
  • Parsons told Zillgitt that he will step down from his position on the board of governors for Madison Square Garden, which controls the Knicks, but he will not move to Los Angeles.
  • Parsons reiterated to Zillgitt that Doc Rivers will still be very much in charge of basketball decisions in L.A. “I told [Rivers], ‘You run the basketball side. I’ll run the business side and we’ll get this done together.'”
  • Parsons revealed to Mark Medina of Los Angeles Daily News that his role will fill those of both banned owner Donald Sterling and inactive team president Andy Roeser“My job is to build those two roles and provide leadership and stability to the team and to be the voice of ownership on [matters] that come before the NBA other than the sale of the team,” Parsons said.
  • Parsons told Medina that he doesn’t see Shelly Sterling having any managing say for the Clippers moving forward. “She is a beneficial owner of the team and has an ownership interest,” Parsons said. “But she doesn’t have a current role with the team and I don’t believe that will change.”
  • Parsons would not speculate to Medina on whether or not Shelly Sterling will be forced to give up her share in the team. “In terms of sale and who owns what and who’s going to own what as we go forward, that’s still in the court of the NBA,” said Parsons.
  • Parsons tells the Los Angeles Daily News scribe that it’s “very hard to tell” how long this transition will take to resolve. “The league is hopeful that we can get through this transition period before the beginning of the next season,” Parsons said. “I hope they are right. But we will have to wait and see.
  • The 66-year-old Parsons told David Aldridge of NBA.com he is not interested in owning the Clippers (Twitter link). “I’m an old guy now. I’d rather be with my grandkids.”
  • Parsons told Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times he won’t be involved in any resolution between Shelly Sterling and the league. “That is really between the Sterlings and the NBA,” said Parsons. “My job is to really be a conservator of the assets, to manage the assets so it runs properly, we keep the momentum, we build the value while that question of ownership is being bought out in another arena, an arena in which I’m not standing.”
  • Sterling repeated her assertion that she consulted with the NBA on its search for a Clippers CEO, and says she approves of the league’s choice of Parsons, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com (Twitter links).
  • Parsons told Shelburne that he will be reaching out to Sterling soon, because she is a stakeholder and she, unlike her husband, has not been banned (Twitter links).

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Pacific Rumors: Kings, Thompson, Lakers

The Kings are canvassing their fans for input on this year’s draft, and GM Pete D’Alessandro will meet with those who submit the best ideas for player evaluation and invite a few of them into the team’s war room on draft night, as he explained in a Reddit chat today. Whether he’ll actually listen or if it’s just a publicity stunt remains to be seen, but it’s another example of the experimental approach the new Kings brass has been taking. Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Kings will favor the best player available over positional needs in the draft, D’Alessandro also said on Reddit.
  • Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group suggests that Klay Thompson will wind up with $12MM annual salaries in an extension from the Warriors this summer (Twitter link). Co-owner Joe Lacob has vowed to strike a deal with the shooting guard.
  • Kobe Bryantin an appearance Thursday on Jimmy Kimmel Live, said he wants the Lakers to consult him on their next coach and claimed they didn’t do so when they hired Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni, but that’s revisionist history, writes Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding. Bryant is on record as having said he spoke with co-owner Jim Buss about D’Antoni during the team’s 2012 coaching search, Ding points out.
  • Bryant also said on Kimmel’s show that he “didn’t care” whether the Lakers retained D’Antoni, who resigned last week. Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com rounds up more from Bryant’s turn on late-night TV.

NBA Taps Richard Parsons As Clips Interim CEO

2:20pm: The NBA has officially installed Parsons as interim CEO of the Clippers, the league announced.

“I believe the hiring of Dick Parsons will bring extraordinary leadership and immediate stability to the Clippers organization,” commissioner Adam Silver said. “Dick’s credentials as a proven chief executive speak for themselves and I am extremely grateful he accepted this responsibility.”

Parsons will control the business side of the team, leaving Doc Rivers to continue to lead the basketball operations department.

12:53pm: The NBA has chosen former Citicorp chairman and Time Warner chief Richard Parsons to run the Clippers, TNT’s David Aldridge reports (Twitter link). Team president Andy Roeser is on an indefinite leave of absence while the club has been searching for someone to lead in the team in the wake of owner Donald Sterling’s lifetime ban. Roeser was in charge immediately after the NBA meted out its punishment of Sterling, but the league said it wanted a “clean slate” for whomever would manage the team next. Parsons will run the team while the league seeks new ownership.

Parsons was the CEO of Time Warner from 2002 to 2007 and was Citigroup chairman from 2009 until 2012, when he retired. He nonetheless continues to serve on the board of directors for Madison Square Garden and other organizations. He was a member of President Barack Obama’s transition team in 2008 and a senior White House aide to President Gerald Ford.

The Clippers have remained in flux as Donald Sterling’s wife, Shelly, has sought to maintain 50% ownership of the club. The league reportedly hadn’t envisioned her desire to remain in the picture when it banned her husband and made plans to strip the team from his ownership. She also asserted that she was involved in the search for the new CEO, but it’s unclear whether that was the case. Donald Sterling is widely expected to mount a legal effort to stop the NBA from seizing control of the Clippers or forcing him to sell.