Doc Rivers has returned to the role he held prior to the ousting of Donald Sterling three years ago, as just coach.
Rivers will be involved in every decision made when it comes to roster and team direction.
But three years ago, Rivers was essentially placed into the position of being the single most important guy in the Clippers organization.
He still has autonomy over how the team plays, but those other decisions are clearly being moved under Frank’s direction, even if Rivers will have a say.
This element is used most commonly as the key criticism of Doc, and while we’ll never really know what the team dynamic was like, Austin has become a useful guard for the Clippers and the Clippers never gave him a max contract or anything of the sort.
And in the end, Rivers was the GM responsible when Chris Paul decided he’d rather be traded to Houston and forgo free agency, cutting a year off his potential raise structure, than stay with the Clippers.
Rivers is reportedly a significant reason for Paul’s departure, including a report that Paul grew to “despise” Rivers.
Alongside Rivers, we saw Stan Van Gundy, Tom Thibodeau, and Mike Budenholzer moved into similar roles wearing both the GM/president of basketball operations and coach’s hat.
A lot of teams have failed because teams hired a coach, and then didn’t involve the coach in roster-building decisions.
But Rivers also provides a lesson that while coach-GM situations aren’t inherently flawed, and indeed, the Clippers were far from a failure with Rivers in charge of basketball operations, in order to get the most out of the situation, you have to have the right coach with the right mindset …