SportsPulse: Trysta Krick breaks down the never ending soap opera that is the NBA.
USA TODAY Sports
LOS ANGELES – Late Thursday night, as DeAndre Jordan walked toward the Staples Center parking lot and so many glum Clippers officials headed home, a fitting song blared in the background after their one-sided loss to the Utah Jazz.
“Don’t let the light go out, it’s lasted for so many years,” the old-timey trio of Peter, Paul, and Mary crooned as the cleaning crew made its way through the stands.
If only for a moment, after six seasons of unfulfilled playoff promise came to an end when Chris Paul left in late June, there was a Big Three being heard from in this building again.
Five months after Paul’s decision to force a trade to the Rockets, and a week after Blake Griffin’s MCL sprain, the lights have officially gone dark in this place once known as Lob City. And now, with uber-competitive owner Steve Ballmer and his overhauled front office being put to a new kind of test as the Clippers have fallen to 8-14, everything is up for debate.
Are the Clippers considering firing coach Doc Rivers, who had his front office duties stripped last summer and who has one season left on the five-year, $50 million deal he signed in the summer of 2014?
Three people with knowledge of the situation say Rivers is likely safe for this season, with his championship resume still held in high regard and the injuries to four of five opening-night starters having made it unfair – in Ballmer’s eyes – to accurately judge his coaching performance this season. Point guard Patrick Beverley (knee surgery last month) is out for the season, while guard Milos Teodosic (out since the second game with plantar fasciitis in his left foot) and forward Danilo Gallinari (13 games missed with a left glute injury) are likely to return soon.
While Gallinari could return as soon as Wednesday’s game against Minnesota, Teodosic is likely to return at some point during the week of Dec. 11. Griffin is expected to miss at least a month, and potentially as much as two months. And no – as it pertains to Rivers’ future – the viral vote of well-known super fan Clipper Darrell doesn’t count.
Will they trade Jordan as a way of retooling the roster while also ensuring they don’t lose him for…