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Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Doc Rivers: 'People see promise'

By Arash Markazi
ESPNLosAngeles.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- Doc Rivers has heard all the names of all the celebrities attached to possible groups looking to buy the Los Angeles Clippers if the NBA's board of governors votes to force Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell the team.

It's a growing list that includes Oprah Winfrey, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Magic Johnson, and Rivers isn't surprised.

"It's in a great location and I think that has a lot to do with it," Rivers said. "We have some pretty good players. I just think it's a very valuable franchise in that way and that's why a lot of people want in on it. You knew that if this franchise ever did go for sale that there would be a lot of people in line because it's a good market with a good team and people see lot of promise. There have been a lot of good things done here and I think a lot of people see that."

Rivers is currently the team's head coach and senior vice president of basketball operations but said he hasn't considered the possibility of investing in the team if one of the prospective ownership groups approached him with the opportunity.

"No, I haven't thought about it very much to be honest," Rivers said. "I'm not really trying to be the face of this franchise. I want to do what's best for this franchise and get this franchise to become a winning franchise, but I think the players should always be the face of it in my opinion -- Chris Paul, Blake [Griffin] and [DeAndre Jordan]. If my voice is part of the franchise, that's fine, but I don't want it to be my face.

"As far as ownership, I'm not thinking about any of that right now," Rivers said. "We have so many distractions as a group, and my focus is completely on trying to figure out a way of eliminating the distractions."

On Tuesday, Sterling was banned for life by the NBA in response to racist comments the league says he made in a recorded conversation. Commissioner Adam Silver said he would try to force Sterling to sell his franchise. The decision was applauded by players and owners around the league but leaves the Clippers' front office, which Rivers is a part of, in a state of flux.

"We're not through this. We're still in it," Rivers said. "There are so many other questions that need to be asked. There are so many moving parts, even internally here. There are things even we have to find out. Like I told my guys yesterday, this is going to be with us. Let's just keep winning and let's deal with it. It's not going anywhere and you just have to embrace that. This is part of this year's playoffs for us."

Rivers is in charge of basketball operations while Clippers president Andy Roeser is in charge of business, but Sterling had the final say. Rivers and Roeser are moving forward without that final say until the league or someone else tells them otherwise.

"There are things day to day that I do that I need some guidance on, and right now we're just doing them and making our decisions," Rivers said. "We're pretty much moving forward with it until something or someone or something tells us not to do that or you can't do that. That's fine, too. We'll figure it all out. It's just different."

Sterling's estranged wife, Rochelle Sterling, attended Tuesday's game after speaking to Rivers and seeking his approval on her presence. She watched from a suite, flanked by a handful of bodyguards, but Rivers wasn't sure if she would attend any more games in the future.

"Yeah, it could be," Rivers said when asked if her presence could be a distraction. "Obviously if it were overbearing, it would be. Let's just be honest. That was an individual circumstance as far as the game the other night and even the one in Golden State that she came to. I wish I knew the right way on that one. I don't. I think that's a 50-50 one, if you want to be honest.

"Either way would create a reaction. It's a tough one," Rivers added. "I still always try to look at the person that has done something wrong and the person who hasn't and that's how I have been trying to make decisions here over the past four days. It's been very difficult."