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The Clippers Have Credibility? The Clippers HAVE Credibility!
"I don't really understand what all of the fuss is about," Clippers president Andy Roeser said during the press conference.
And here I thought the Clippers finally decided to be a competent NBA team.
Of course the press conference was to formally announce the arrival of Doc Rivers as the new head coach and senior vice president of basketball operations. All of that means is, as Roeser put it, "he's going to have input in the roster and how to improve it."
In exchange the Clippers sent an unprotected 2015 first round draft pick to Boston, and to get the NBA to approve the deal they added a stipulation that the two teams could not be involved in a trade in this upcoming season.
When the Clippers drafted Blake Griffin 2009, they became intriguing. When they traded for Chris Paul in 2011, they became good. Now with Rivers, they are contenders.
It's a long road from when Rivers played for the Clippers during the 1991-92 season under head coach Larry Brown. The team finished 45-37, fifth in the West and was ousted in an LA Riots-interrupted first round by the Utah Jazz.
For years owner Donald T. Sterling wouldn't spend a dime on the team. Then in the mid-2000's Sterling decided he wanted a winning team and started paying for players. Now he has ponied over $21 million over three years to get Rivers to Los Angeles.
Even Rivers have noticed the difference. "We have players who want to be here," he noted. "We're bringing in players. We're talking about winning."
And for Rivers, it's all about winning. "Quite honestly at this point in my life, the only reason I'm coaching is to try and win titles," he said.
There is a lot of work to be done. Tomorrow is the draft where the Clippers hold the 25th pick. On Monday free agency begins where the priority lies in re-signing Chris Paul. Also unrestricted free agents are Chauncey Billups, Matt Barnes, Ryan Hollins, Lamar Odom, and Ronny Turiaf. The team also has an option on Willie Green.
There are holes to fill, but for the first time it looks like the Clippers will prevail.
As someone sitting on the sidelines, as someone who was at STAPLES Center when the Clippers clinched their first round playoff series against the Denver Nuggets in 2006 only to fall on their faces in each successive season, as someone who has witnessed what a mockery Sterling had become, it still astounds me the Clippers have credibility.
Clippers general manager Gary Sacks had more of handle of the situation as compared to Roeser. "This is one of the biggest moments in Clippers history," he opened the press conference.
It's now up to the Clippers to outdo themselves.