01.25.08

Dunleavy : Clippers Exec Asked Me To Lie

Posted in Basketball at 4:49 pm by

(Donald Sterling, right, interviewing Elton Brand for the position of player-coach)

How screwed up are things in the Los Angeles Clippers’ front office? Even Steve Mills read the below item and shook his head. From the LA Times’ Jonathan Abrams.

Late Wednesday, after the Clippers’ 111-85 victory over the Sacramento Kings, Mike Dunleavy told The Times that team President Andy Roeser had asked him to say publicly that the coach had patched up his differences with owner Donald T. Sterling, even though the two hadn’t spoken.

Dunleavy elaborated on Roeser’s request Thursday morning at the team’s practice. Dunleavy explained how he carried through with them, by talking to reporters before Wednesday’s game about his “conversation” with Sterling, in an effort to quiet a growing public rift.

Then late Thursday, Roeser said: “In our haste to create closure on this matter, Mike and I obviously had a misunderstanding. Mike has acknowledged to me that he regrets how he handled this situation. You can be sure that we are disappointed in the way he chose to handle it. His comments were inappropriate. It’s now time for us all to move forward and concentrate solely on working harder to improve the team.”

Sterling told The Times at halftime Wednesday that he knew nothing of a conversation that day between himself and Dunleavy.

The Clippers executive suite has been in turmoil since Monday when Sterling told The Times, in a story published Tuesday, he was upset at his team’s poor performance and was contemplating changes among his top management — Dunleavy and Elgin Baylor, longtime director of basketball operations.

Dunleavy responded Tuesday by inviting Sterling to fire him and saying it would be a giant mistake. Dunleavy, coach of the Clippers since 2003, is in the first season of a four-year $22 million contract extension.

Dunleavy explained Thursday morning that he talked with Roeser on the phone Wednesday morning and they agreed the management dispute should be handled in-house.

Dunleavy informed Roeser he had called Sterling at his office, at his home and spoken to Sterling’s wife, but not the owner, and had left messages. Roeser assured Dunleavy that Sterling was on the same page as his coach and that they should end their public disagreement, Dunleavy said.

Dunleavy said he asked Roeser how he should respond to questions from the media about the dispute. Roeser told him to say that he had talked with the owner, Dunleavy said.

Friday’s line of the day goes to the Post’s Peter Vescey, who in highlighting the Sixers’ visit to “Sexual Harassment Hacienda”, claims Larry Brown, “plans to be escorted to his seat by Robert Culp and Bill Cosby.” Once again, Vescey’s killing us with the timely cultural references.

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