Report: Rivers Would Leave Clippers Next Season If Sterling Is Still Owner

There’s a laundry list of despicable reasons why embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has no place in the NBA. Clippers CEO Dick Parsons testified in court today, offering yet another case of why the franchise must be officially wrested from Sterling’s hands: Doc Rivers would likely resign if he remains as team owner.

The story is courtesy of ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, and also casts doubt on the viability of players on the team’s roster should Sterling own the team next season.

The interim CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers testified in state court Tuesday afternoon that coach and team president Doc Rivers has told him on multiple occasions that he doesn’t think he wants to continue as coach if Donald Sterling remains owner of the team.

Dick Parsons said he’s talked to Rivers, several players and key sponsors who are troubled by Sterling’s continued ownership of the franchise, which is being adjudicated in a California probate court…

“If Doc were to leave, that would be a disaster,” Parsons said. “Doc is the father figure of the team. Chris (Paul) is the on-court captain of the team. But Doc is really the guy who leads the effort. He’s the coach, the grown-up, he’s a man of character and ability — not just in a basketball sense, but in the ability to connect with people and gain their trust.

“The team believes in him and admires and loves him. If he were to bail, with all the other circumstances, it would accelerate the death spiral.”

Parsons also said that the team’s sponsors would flee if Sterling were to continue as owner, citing conversations he’s had with several existing backers.

It’s hardly shocking that Rivers would likely leave the Clippers under such a scenario. He’s been a rock of strength and consistently measured perspective for the entire franchise throughout the Sterling saga, and has alluded to his exit in the past if Sterling were to remain Los Angeles’ owner.

Just as unsurprising is Parsons’ assumption that players like Chris Paul could follow Rivers out the door. Rivers’ nature is that of basketball patriarch, and he quickly established himself as such with the Clippers last season – his sphere of influence is limitless. As President of the National Basketball Player’s Association, Paul already has even more political incentive – let alone personal means, of course – to bail on a Sterling-helmed franchise than others, too.

Without Rivers and Paul and other players, there might as well be no Clippers. Parsons agreed with that sentiment.

“If none of your sponsors want to sponsor you, your coach doesn’t want to coach you, and players don’t want to play for you, what do you have?” Parsons said.

There’s no telling whether or not the league will be able to officially oust Sterling before the 2014-2015 season tips off. Parsons’ testimony that doing so is of utmost importance to the Clippers’ viability, however, is surely helpful to those efforts.

Do you think Rivers Would resign if Sterling is still owner?

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