Doc Rivers will likely become the next head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers want him, and he wants the job. However, a number of transactions must be successfully negotiated; if he is to wind up here. The Celtics will want compensation for letting him out of his three year contract. The two teams are also working on some trades to see if they can satisfy their athletic needs, and still meet the salary cap requirements. None of this will be easy, but it is likely to happen, because the Clippers finally sense the possibility of winning an NBA Championship.
The Celtics have great players, but they have grown old. That organization will likely have to endure three or four losing seasons, before they become good again. Doc does not want to suffer through the bad times with them. He also does not want to walk away from a contract that is paying him $7 million a year. So, he is highly motivated to get out of Boston and the Clippers are just loaded with talent, and they are located in beautiful Southern California. This is a deal that everyone involved in wants to make, but in order to do so; everyone is going to have to make some major compromises.
Local fans feel that they are on the outside, just looking in at the NBA Playoffs. Historically, the Lakers have been a part of most of them, and we have all come to expect that. However, this year the championship game is between the Heat and the Spurs. How did that happen?
With the Lakers being wounded, weak, and old, the Clippers are now in the position to compete for the hearts and minds of the local fans. The Lakers will discover that fans are fickle, and that they have short memories. If a team wants to be loved, then it just has to win!
Frank McCourt has to be the luckiest man alive, and I just hope that he will allow me to be his friend. He went through a public and expensive divorce. Major League Baseball took over the day-to-day operation of his team. He was unable to make the weekly payroll. Things were so desperate for him that he asked 14 African-American Ministers to sign the Petition that he planned to send to Commissioner Bud Selig. He was ordered to sell the team, but given the right to select the buyer.
That is when things started to get better for him. His ex-wife agreed to take $135 million from him, for her interest in the team. She was worried that there might not be any buyers for it. Then, unbelievably someone paid him $2 billion for it, and that was not all. He was allowed to keep the parking lots, and he also has options that allow him to participate in any other developments that might be done in Chavez Ravine. So, to sum it up, he sold it but he still owns it. If I was one of those Ministers who signed his Petition, I would certainly give him a call to see if we could do lunch. Wonder if any of them have done that? If so, I would like to know how things came out.
The Spurs lead the Heat by 3-2 in the NBA Championship Series. We will go to press before the next game is played. The Heat and their fans have been surprised by the tenacity of the Spurs. However, this is what I expected. The Spurs are a sound basketball organization. They have a highly disciplined team; they practice hard and they play even harder. All 12 of their players stay in tip top condition and they are prepared to enter a game at any time.
They have devised defenses that make it difficult for LeBron James and his teammates to score their usual number of points. They play the game at a faster pace than usual, and this drains the energy from their opponents. The Spurs can be beaten, but it will not ever be easy to do. Their three stars are Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili. They also have shooting star Day Green, who has set the record for making the most three point shots in a championship series. Another one of their great shooters, Bonner, may explode before the series is over.
Both teams are so good that it is a pleasure to watch them play. They made me remember what a great sport basketball is. However, the time is drawing near and one team will win and the other one will not. It is exhilarating to be the winner and heartbreaking to be the loser. But, as the great Herman Edwards says, "that is why they play the game".