Believe it or not, a few bright spots have emerged from the ugly situation involving Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Chief among them may be the handling of everything by coach Doc Rivers.
Tuesday, he exhibited class and professionalism once again, as he fielded questions from the media during a press conference regarding the lifetime ban of Sterling handed down by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
To begin, Rivers was able to share his concerns for his players, who were thrust into a position they likely hadn't imagined prior to Saturday:
Doc: I felt the pressure on my players. Everyone was waiting for them to make a response. They didn't do anything.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) April 30, 2014
Following the announcement of Sterling's ban, a $2.5 million fine and a plan to push fellow owners to vote for Sterling having to sell the team, Rivers and the Clippers are surely feeling some relief:
Doc: "We're in a better place."— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) April 30, 2014
Still, they know there is likely more to come. This incident has sparked discussion, and the potential for litigation over whether or not Sterling can be forced to sell over something said in private will likely keep the conversation alive for some time:
Doc Rivers: "Is this over? No, it's not over. But it's the start of a healing process we need."— Scott Howard-Cooper (@SHowardCooper) April 30, 2014
Those things will certainly factor into Rivers' decision on whether or not he'll remain the Clippers head coach and president of basketball operations for next season:
"I haven't given it zero thought. But Adam's decision makes it easier," said Doc Rivers on whether he would coach the Clippers next season.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) April 30, 2014
Doc on working for Sterling now: "I don't know if I am."— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) April 30, 2014
Meanwhile, this team is still in the hunt for an NBA championship. The players were willing to show that that pursuit was of little importance compared to the moral fight they could potentially face:
Doc on whether he was worried players would refuse to play today: " That was one of the reason I didn't have practice yesterday."— Melissa Rohlin (@melissarohlin) April 30, 2014
Now that they know and are satisfied with the punishment levied by the league, the Clippers will try to refocus on winning battles on the court.
Doc on what he told his players: "This was some closure, but there's still work to do."— Melissa Rohlin (@melissarohlin) April 30, 2014
Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.