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Clippers Coach Doc Rivers denies report of rift with fellow team executive

Clippers Coach Doc Rivers during a playoff game against the Houston Rockets on May 17.

Clippers Coach Doc Rivers during a playoff game against the Houston Rockets on May 17.

(Scott Halleran / Getty Images)

Doc Rivers on Friday adamantly refuted a report that a rift has developed between him and another high-ranking Clippers executive, Gillian Zucker.

Rivers, the Clippers’ coach and president of basketball operations, dismissed a story by TMZ.com that Zucker, the team’s president of business operations, has tried to insert herself into basketball-related issues and created tension between the two.

“There’s nothing there,” Rivers said. “Gillian has been great. She’s new and she’s new to the NBA and of course there’s going to be criticism with that. But she’s got our backing and she’ll be fine.”

Rivers spoke to the media after the Los Angeles Clippers Foundation gave a three-year, $3-million donation to City Year Los Angeles, an education-focused nonprofit that has partnered with public schools and teachers to help students graduate.

Zucker was not made available after the event at L.A. Live.

Rivers said he and Zucker talked after the report came out Monday.

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“Yeah, but it really wasn’t that deep,” Rivers said. “I just wanted to make sure she was good because she’s taking hits. I told her, ‘Welcome to the NBA. That’s just the way it is.’”

Zucker, who joined the Clippers in November after nine years as president of Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, has been in the process of rebranding the team. The club has a new logo and uniforms and eventually will have a mascot, and the Clippers Spirit dance team will appear on a reality television show.

Rivers said Zucker hasn’t tried to impose things on him in their infrequent conversations.

“We do [talk] on business stuff, but very few [other] things,” Rivers said.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

Twitter: @BA_Turner


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