“I thought that was the sigh of relief we needed,” Rivers said during his pregame news conference at Staples Center before Game 5 of the Clippers' playoff series against the Golden State Warriors. “Is this over? No, it’s not over. But it’s the start of a healing process that we need.”
During a post-practice film session Tuesday, Rivers told his players about NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s decision to ban Sterling, fine him $2.5 million and seek his ouster as Clippers owner. Silence greeted the news and Rivers returned to the film.
“I felt the pressure on my players,” Rivers said. “You know, everyone was waiting for them to give a response. I kept thinking, ‘They didn’t do anything, yet they have to respond.’”
Rivers doesn’t expect Sterling to be owner next season, and at one point the coach said he doesn’t know whom in the organization to call if he needs something. Until the ownership situation is resolved, Rivers, who called Sterling’s lifetime ban “the right decision,” preached patience.
“We’re going to let this whole thing run its course and then we’ll all have better clarity,” Rivers said. “I want my players to be comfortable, honestly. I think that’s the most important thing.”