March 26, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling before the game against the New Orleans Hornets at the Staples Center. Clippers won 97-85. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
It strikes me as strange that Donald Sterling chooses to talk to no journalist other than TJ Simers. Simers has always been an annoying provocateur who thinks he's funny. Personally, I've never found him particularly entertaining. But he went on the road with the Clippers earlier this year and filed several really good stories (find them here, here, and here), and then one sour, disruptive one (about Mo Williams, here). So, when I saw this new article about Donald Sterling I didn't quite know what to expect. (Citizen Hengtime81 had it in the fanshots first).
Sterling says all the right things, though his says them a bit oddly. He talks about signing Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to max contracts, saying they will be around "...for a lifetime"). He also talks about Vinny Del Negro, the Clippers embattled head coach...
"I like him," said Sterling. "I usually follow the advice of my people, and I think they care for him, like him and want him to succeed. And I think he will... I don't know where all these stories are coming from; nobody talked to me... Everything is good."
Later in the article, Simers talks to Neil Olshey who was asked if he put any import into a regarding a rumor that Del Negro had lost the locker room:
"No," he said. "I don't know where that would have come from because I'm sure it didn't come out of our locker room."
But did Olshey think about making a change?
"It would be crazy to say when you lose 12 out of 19 that the thought doesn't come through your mind. You'd have to be oblivious," he said. "But the good always outweighs the bad with Vinny. He works his butt off, the players like him, and they're competing. You have 20 games in 31 days and so people are misconstruing a little bit of fatigue with a lack of effort."
And later again, Olshey said...
"I see absolutely no reason why there would be a coaching change based on where the guys are now," Olshey said. "I think everybody built us up into something because we got out to such a great start and the minute we didn't live up to it for a short period of time everyone wanted to act like the Apocalypse was upon us."