This move has been rumored for a while, and discussed among fans for even longer than that. Doc talked this over with Steve Ballmer, and both of them decided this was the right move. Lawrence Frank, who has been vice president of basketball operations since last summer, will now be fully in charge of basketball operations, though Doc will still have input, as will new adviser Jerry West.
Steve Ballmer is once again proving his worth as an owner, absolutely nailing the reasons why this is a good decision in the fourth and fifth paragraphs of the Adrian Wojnarowski article (make sure you check out the full article for all the details and quotes). He has come to the conclusion that running a team and coaching a team are so entirely dissimilar that they can’t be handled by the same person. Not only that, but each role has a vastly different relationship with players, and conflating the two of them makes things confusing.
Ballmer also mentions that with 2⁄3 of the roster being new, Doc will have his hands full coaching anyway. Coaching an NBA team is a full-time job as is, and taking time away from that just isn’t a good idea. It’s something we at Clips Nation have been talking about since the days of Mike Dunleavy, and it rings even truer in today’s NBA, which is more complicated and difficult to manage than ever before.
Just to make things clear. Doc is still the head coach, and will be involved in player personnel decisions. He’s not going anywhere. Both he and Frank will report directly to Ballmer, though as Frank and Doc are long-time friends both on and off the court, there shouldn’t be much in the way of tension.
With Mike Budenholzer also stepping down from basketball operations duties in Atlanta, it appears that the short era of coaches holding front office control as well is coming to an end. While it made sense for coaches to want that power over the rosters they were coaching, it was always too much responsibility for any one person to handle, and it’s no surprise that situations like this are slowly fading away.
In the short-term, I doubt there will be any noticeable changes in the way the Clippers do things (front office related). In the long run, I think this is a great switch-up, and should improve both the coaching and the basketball operations work of the team. Good luck to Lawrence in his new role, and thanks to Doc Rivers for handling this all so graciously!