Slowly, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said Thursday morning, his players are inching closer to just being able to play basketball and not deal so much with the Donald Sterling scandal.
The Clippers won Game 5 of their first-round playoff series against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night at Staples Center, hours after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had banned the Clippers owner from the NBA for life for inflammatory remarks that Silver determined were made by Sterling in a recording released Friday night.
Sterling also was fined $2.5 million by the NBA, and Silver wants other NBA franchise owners to force Sterling to sell the team.
Now the Clippers are looking to close out the best-of-seven series with a win in Game 6 against the Warriors on Thursday night at Oracle Arena.
The Clippers had a shoot-around Thursday in San Francisco in preparation for the game.
“I think we’re getting closer to being able to play basketball,” Rivers said. “I think the discussion will be here, and that’s fine by us. I think our guys have been around it long enough now and they’ll deal with it and put it in its right place. But I think we’re getting closer and closer to talking about basketball.”
When told that his name had been mentioned as a candidate to become the next Lakers coach in the wake of Mike D’Antoni's resignation Wednesday, Rivers rolled his eyes.
Rivers has two years left on his Clippers contract that pays him $7 million per season. He is also the senior vice president of basketball operations for the Clippers, giving him the authority to make any basketball-related moves he desires.
“I’m the coach of those guys,” Rivers said pointing at his players at the shoot-around. “So I’m not even going there. But honestly, that’s the first I’ve heard of it. I’m going to stay out of that.”
Rivers was also asked who he would like to be the next owner of the Clippers.
“I’m not thinking about any of that stuff,” Rivers said. “I’ve got to get our team playing basketball tonight. That’s going to be really important for us.”