Lakers end season with 115-110 win over Clippers
It was the end of the road for the Clippers and Lakers, both playing their final game of the regular season Wednesday night, the playoffs an afterthought and the future their main concerns now.
For the Clippers going forward, owner Steve Ballmer said before the team’s 115-100 loss to the Lakers that there have not been any conversations about a contract extension for coach Doc Rivers.
But Ballmer said that Rivers, who has one year left on his contract for about $10 million, had done a good job with a Clippers team that was decimated by injuries.
Ballmer knows that NBA coaches want job security and don’t want to have doubts about their future by being in the final year of a deal as a lame-duck coach, and Rivers is no different.
“The other thing I’m really just learning about the NBA is that in a regular business a five-year contract is a five-year contract and you talk about what happens in the sixth year after the fifth year,” Ballmer said. “That doesn’t seem to be the protocol in the NBA. You kind of get it. I should be near the end of my learning curve at some point.
Rivers was asked about his contract status, but he wasn’t revealing.
“I don’t know, I don’t even know like to answer it right now,” he said. “I understand the question. I love what I do, but that doesn’t mean you keep doing it every year, you know what I mean?”
DeAndre Jordan was asked about his future as well. He has a player-option for next year that will pay him $24 million if he decides to opt-in on the deal.
“I want to be where I’m wanted,” Jordan said. “I want to continue my career and have the chance to contend and winning it. So, that’s what I’m really looking at.”
Rivers coached his NBA-high 37th starting lineup in what was the Clippers’ home game at Staples Center.
The Lakers had their own injuries to deal with too, sitting Kyle Kuzma (sprained left ankle), Lonzo Ball (bruised left knee), Brandon Ingram (concussion protocol), Luol Deng (sprained left ankle) and Isaiah Thomas (right hip surgery).
The Clippers missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011 and for the first time during Rivers’ five years as the coach.
The Lakers missed the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year, but they finished this season playing hard to earn their first win in their last four games that gave them a 35-47 record.
They also broke a six-game losing streak to the Clippers behind a career-high 30 points from Jason Hart and 25 points from Gary Payton II.
The Clippers head into the summer with a four-game losing streak and a 42-40 record.
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