What is Doc Rivers' future under Clippers owner Donald Sterling?

What is Doc Rivers' future under Clippers owner Donald Sterling?
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers heads back to the bench after a timeout during the Clippers' 118-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the Western Conference quarterfinals Sunday. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

OAKLAND — Doc Rivers sounded as if he has been forced to contemplate his future as coach of the Clippers.

With so many NBA players around the league saying they wouldn't play for controversial Clippers owner Donald Sterling in the wake of racist comments he allegedly made, Rivers was asked if he needed to hear something from someone within the organization in order for him to continue working for Sterling.

"Don't know yet," Rivers responded. "I'm just going to leave it at that."


When Rivers came to the Clippers from the Boston Celtics, he was given a three-year deal that pays him $7 million per season, and the Clippers had to send Boston a first-round draft pick as compensation.


Rivers, who is African American, also was named the team's senior president of basketball operation, giving him the power to run the team.

Anger has erupted toward Sterling because of an audio recording released by the celebrity gossip site TMZ. In it, a man who sounded like Sterling told a female friend he was upset she posted a picture on her Instagram account of herself next to Lakers legend and Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, because he didn't want her "associating with black people."

The fallout meant that Rivers and his players had to spend time on the issue before and after playing the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the Western Conference first-round playoff series on Sunday.

"They've been pulled in a million directions over the last 24 hours," Rivers said. "That's a fact."

Rivers said he hasn't spoken to Sterling, who didn't attend Game 4, which the Clippers lost, 118-97.

Though the Clippers' players declined to comment on Sterling, the Warriors players didn't mind weighing in on the matter.

"We have some dedicated fans that show up every night," Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. "And to allow one comment or a lot of comments to take away from that experience and that part this time of the year, it's not worth it."

Golden State Coach Mark Jackson said the disparaging comments attributed to Sterling affected his team as well.

Jackson said he had to spend some time talking to his players, but he also was opposed to boycotting the game.

"You stand up there and you answer questions as an African American man, and you sound intelligent and you carry yourself and conduct yourself to answer and let people know," Jackson said.

"You make a statement by who you are, by players like Steph Curry and Chris Paul getting after it and still communicating and still calling and texting, by handling yourself with class. That's how you respond."


The Clippers had done a very good job against the Warriors' three-point shooters in the first three playoff games, holding Golden State to 27.3% shooting (21 for 77).

But the Clippers lost containment too many times in Game 4 on Sunday, letting the Warriors make 46.9% (15 for 32) from three-point range.

Curry, who had shot seven for 20 from three-point range in the first two games, was seven for 14 from three-point range en route to 33 points.