Steve Ballmer Wanted To Trade All Clippers Players, Fire All Coaches

Steve Ballmer Wanted To Trade All Clippers Players, Fire All Coaches

The Los Angeles Clippers getting eliminated by the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the postseason came as a shock to everyone.

Most expected the Clippers to be a legitimate contender for the NBA Championship, and them flaming out against a young, scrappy Denver group shattered a lot of illusions about just how far you can get with a core of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Doc Rivers.

One of the people most ticked off about the Clippers’ showing against the Nuggets? Team owner Steve Ballmer.

As highlighted in a recent conversation between Ryen Russillo and Bill Simmons on the Ryen Russillo Podcast, Ballmer came out of the whole situation wanting to trade all the players and fire all the coaches.

The Clippers conversation can be heard right around the 37-minute mark.

Ballmer was apparently so enraged by what had transpired in this year’s postseason that he decided to part ways with Rivers against the front office’s wishes.

Which makes sense – because obviously Rivers was very taken aback when he got the boot. Clearly he knew he had the front office’s support, but it just wasn’t enough.

Ballmer invested in a pricy analytics department to help make data-driven decisions on how to play. Rivers ignored that department – most notably when he opted to use Montrezl Harrell over fellow center Ivica Zubac despite the latter being a more efficient option.

The Clippers recorded a team-best 11.1 net rating when Zubac was paired with Leonard and George. With Harrell in Zubac’s place, the net rating was -30.1.

Ballmer’s move to get rid of Rivers despite the front office’s position speaks to a larger rift that has formed.

According to Simmons and Russillo, the Clippers owner was also very irritated with the decision not to select Michael Porter Jr. in the 2018 NBA Draft.

LA had two selections in the first round that year – the 12th and 13th. With the 12th they picked Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and with the 13th they nabbed Jerome Robinson.

Denver took Porter Jr. with the 14th overall pick that year.

Robinson was traded to the Washington Wizards in a 3-team trade involving the New York Knicks in February 2020, while Gilgeous-Alexander was moved to the Oklahoma City Thunder to acquire George this past offseason.

Neither of those guys is with the organization, while Porter Jr. appears to be a young star on the come up with Denver.

Apparently Ballmer was familiar with Porter Jr. from his Seattle days as a senior at Nathan Hale High School and wanted the Clippers to select him in 2018, which they obviously didn’t.

All in all, it seems like Ballmer is taking a significantly more hands on role with the Clippers going forward.

What that will end up meaning for all parties involved remains to be seen.

Related: Stefon Diggs On Why Bills Are Better Than Vikings

Anthony Amador

A graduate from the University of Texas, Anthony Amador has been credentialed to cover the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and high school games all over the Lone Star State. Currently, his primary beats are the NBA, MLB, NFL and UFC.

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