Blake Griffin has gotten what he wanted.
As had been rumored, the Clippers have promoted from within, announcing that 19-year Clipper veteran Gary Sacks is the new Vice President of Basketball Operations. So, while he is not formally the general manager, he is in practice the general manager.
“Gary has been a valuable and loyal member of our organization for the past 18 years,” Clippers’ President Andy Roeser said in a released statement. “His recent role this very productive summer, as well as his many contributions during the course of his tenure made it clear that he is the right person to lead our Basketball Operations Department.”
The Clippers lost former GM Neil Olshey to Portland earlier this summer. Olshey was key because he was part of the change of culture in the Clippers organization, now Sacks has to continue that.
This summer the Clippers player personnel moves — and they were pretty good ones — were made by a trio of men — Sacks, Roeser (who was the money/contract guy) and head coach Vinny Del Negro. Although, if you listen to the buzz around the league the real driving force was CAA — the firm that represents Chris Paul.
That is Sacks’ and the Clippers main job now — get Chris Paul to re-sign with the team after this season. It’s max money for CP3, that’s not the question. But Paul is as competitive a guy as there is in this league, he’s just not publicly demonstrative about it in the way Kobe Bryant or Kevin Garnett are. He wants to win, the Clippers need to convince Paul he can do that in Los Angeles.
Paul has to ask himself two questions: 1) Can the Clippers win a ring in the coming years, and do I trust this management to get the team there? 2) If I leave, where can I go that I have a better shot?
For the next five years or so it is likely the Thunder and the Heat that are the big hurdles to winning a ring, and in the West the Lakers have pushed into that position. Can the Clippers get there? Can Paul lead them there? If Paul jumped to the East Coast, where can a team offer him a max deal and still have the talent to challenge Miami?