Steve Ballmer got his team. Now he’s locked up his coach.
Terms of the deal were not immediately available. Rivers had two years and $14 million left on the contract he brought with him from the Boston Celtics last summer, but the terms of that deal were changed as part of the new agreement.
[Updated at noon: Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Rivers' contract will pay him more than $50 million over five years.]
“This is an important day for this organization,” Ballmer said in a statement. “I am excited to work with Doc for a long time as we build a championship culture that will deliver results both on and off the court. Not only is Doc one of the best coaches and executives in the game, but he continually embodies the hard core, committed and resilient character and winning culture that the Clippers represent. It was one of my top priorities to ensure that he was firmly in place as the long-term leader of this team.”
Rivers guided the Clippers to a franchise-record 57-25 record and the Pacific Division title last season before losing to Oklahoma City in the Western Conference semifinals. The team defeated Golden State in an emotional first-round playoff series that came amid the rancor of audio recordings surfacing in which then-owner Donald Sterling implored a friend to not bring black people to games.
Rivers shepherded the Clippers through the turmoil, serving as team spokesman and soothing team employees who had to deal with the brunt of fan backlash.
Rivers and Ballmer appeared to forge an immediate chemistry during a welcome rally for Ballmer last week, playing off each other's high-energy approach.
“Steve has shown a clear and determined desire to make the Clippers one of the most elite, first-class and championship organizations in all of professional sports,” Rivers said in a statement. “We know we have work to do to get there, but I am motivated by the challenge and thankful for the opportunity to stand together with Steve as we continue to move toward our goal of winning an NBA title.”
The Clippers return with their core of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan for next season along with newcomers Spencer Hawes and Jordan Farmar and will again be among the conference favorites.