Apparently $21 million over three years wasn’t enough for Doc Rivers. Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer thought so, too. Rivers has agreed to a five-year contract worth in excess of $10 million annually to remain with the Clippers through the 2018-2019 season, reports say.
Doc Rivers‘ new five-year contract to be president and coach of the Los Angeles Clippers is worth more than $50 million, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
New Clippers owner Steve Ballmer announced Rivers’ extension on Wednesday. The team replaced the remaining two years on his original three-year, $21 million deal with a new contract that runs through the 2018-19 season.
It’s crucial to stress that Rivers wears two hats for the Clippers: that of head coach and team president. His mind-blowing salary is a bit more understandable considering the authority he wields for Los Angeles. Stan Van Gundy occupies the same dual-role for the Detroit Pistons that Rivers does with the Clippers, for instance, and signed a five-year, $35 million deal in May. It makes sense that Rivers would command more than Van Gundy given the latter’s time spent away from the game after the Orlando Magic fired him in 2012. Gregg Popovich is afforded similar power with the San Antonio Spurs and inked a multi-year extension after leading his team to the 2013-2014 championship. San Antonio, however, stayed mum on Pop’s contractual details.
Plus, there’s no price that can be put on the powerful grace that Rivers exhibited throughout the Donald Sterling saga. A lesser presence might have folded under the pressure and reacted adversely to such unenviable circumstances, and that would have been understandable. Instead, Rivers set the tone for the entire Clippers organization by staying firm in his thoughts on the matter while not adding fuel to the fire. That delicate, extremely influential approach alone deserved some sort of financial compensation.
Ballmer nearly admitted as much in a statement on Rivers’ new contract.
“This is an important day for this organization,” Clippers owner Steve Ballmer said. “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.”
Then there’s this little matter: Ballmer can simply afford to pay Rivers such an amount. The former Microsoft executive bought the Clippers for a record $2 billion. If Ballmer deems Rivers irreplaceable, he should indeed pay Rivers most any salary he wants.
Los Angeles’ future shines amazingly bright considering the Sterling abyss of late spring and early summer. By locking up Rivers for the long-haul, Ballmer has ensured it will stay that way.
Is Doc worth the money?
Follow Jack on Twitter at @ArmstrongWinter.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.