Matt Barnes talks about how Clippers decided to let Doc Rivers speak for team on Sterling

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We should all be thankful the Donald Sterling era is gone. Oh, he’ll keep trying to be a nuisance by suing the league because he can, but his days of involvement with the NBA are gone.

Steve Ballmer is the owner of the Clippers. We don’t know what kind of owner the former Microsoft CEO will be, but he can’t be worse that the historically bad Sterling.

How Sterling’s demise as an owner started, with a recording of him making bigoted statements in a private conversation leaked to TMZ and made public, ended up impacting the end of the Clippers last season. They ended up angry and in the middle of a national media firestorm all while trying to work their way through the playoffs. Nobody was going to beat the Thunder with that hanging over their heads.

Matt Barnes is back in his native Sacramento and spoke with News10’s Sean Cunningham about how the team dealt with that.

“Everyone thought they had the answer on what to do and what we should do,” Barnes said. “Doc brought us in and talked to us the morning after it happened. We all got to air out our feelings, but we decided as a team for Doc to be the only one answering questions and for us to concentrate on basketball, and I think that relieved a little bit of the pressure.”

(You should read the entire post to read what Barnes said about a family tragedy he went through this summer.)

The Clippers are serious title contenders this year. At the end of last season I thought they we’re the third best team in the NBA, problem is the two above them were both in the West. That said, the Clippers should be better.

Los Angeles is improved because they have Spencer Hawes as their first big off the bench, who is a massive upgrade over Glen Davis and Ryan Hollins who were the backups last year. Los Angeles will have DeAndre Jordan in a contract year. Also, this is their second year in Doc Rivers’ system.

But most of all, they won’t have Sterling as a distraction at the key part of the season.