One of the first moves new Clippers owner Steve Ballmer made after buying the club for a record $2 billion was hire Gillian Zucker as the new President of Business Ooperations. Zucker, who had served as president of the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA for 9 years.
It seems that the hiring of Zucker has lead to a divide among Clippers executives, with some reports that Zucker is overstepping her role, and getting involved in the basketball side of things, which, according to title, should be handled by Doc Rivers, the Clippers President of Basketball Operations. In the TMZ Sports report, according to unnamed players and key staffers, Zucker is inserting herself into basketball decisions such as playing time and player development.
TMZ Sports reached out to Zucker about the allegations:
We reached out to Zucker for comment who told us, "This is the first I've heard of this" ... adding, "I think the lines between [basketball and business] are very clear."
They also asked Clippers VP of Communications Seth Burton for a comment:
When contacted for comment, Clippers V.P. of communications Seth Burton told TMZ Sports, "When you have new ownership, there's a learning curve. Things are new and things change. In terms of what players think, I don't know."
In the end, this is TMZ Sports, and since there are no direct quotes from players or staff about the alleged divide between Doc Rivers and Gillian Zucker, it's hard to take this as real news. But where there is smoke, there usually is fire. We might be able to read more into this when the season starts. If the players look distracted, then maybe there is some truth. If not, then maybe this is just a rumor that didn't unfold.
Read the whole TMZ Sports report here.