New Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer’s first big move happened Wednesday when the team and coach Doc Rivers came to an agreement on a contract extension through the 2018 season that will pay him in access of $10 million a year.
Rivers had two years remaining on the three-year, $21 million deal he signed last year when he came to LA from the Boston Celtics.
“Steve has shown a clear and determined desire to make the Clippers one of the most elite, first-class and championship organizations in all of professional sports,” Rivers said. “We know we have work to do to get there, but I am motivated by the challenge and thankful for the opportunity to stand together with Steve as we continue to move toward our goal of winning an NBA title.”
Rivers said he likely would have quit if disgraced Donald Sterling had remained owner of the team after the league had removed him following leaked audio of him using racial slurs. Sterling’s appeal was denied, and the sale of the team to Ballmer for a record $3 billion was official.
“This is an important day for this organization,” Ballmer said in a statement. “I am excited to work with Doc for a long time as we build a championship culture that will deliver results both on and off the court. Not only is Doc one of the best coaches and executives in the game, but he continually embodies the hard-core, committed and resilient character and winning culture that the Clippers represent. It was one of my top priorities to ensure that he was firmly in place as the long-term leader of this team.”