On Tuesday the Los Angeles Clippers announced that Gary Sacks would be the new vice president of basketball operations. The position was previously held by Neil Olshey, who took a job as the Portland Trailblazers general manager this off-season.
The Clippers went with a guy who had been waiting in the wings for a number of years. Sacks will be entering his 19th season in the Clippers organization, this time in a bigger role than ever. He spent the last two seasons as director of player personnel and was director of scouting for five seasons before that.
Spending 19 seasons in the Clippers organization would be rough for anyone. Fortunately, this means Sacks should know what to do and what not to do, if he wants to win basketball games.
This is the perfect time for Sacks to take on his new role with the organization. The Clippers roster is looking more competitive than ever before, with all stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin as the nucleus. This off-season Sacks, along with head coach Vinny Del Negro and team president Andy Roeser, were already getting things started, Black Eyed Peas style.
It was an off-season in which they traded for Lamar Odom, made free agent signings like Grant Hill and Jamal Crawford, and signed Griffin to a five-year contract extension that could be worth up to $95 million. These off-season moves were mostly overshadowed by the other team in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Lakers singed free agent Steve Nash and traded for Dwight Howard to make them the biggest threat once again throughout the NBA.
It will be up to Sacks to keep the Clippers competitive in a market with the most storied franchise–outside of Boston–playing in the same arena every other night. Last season the Clippers were the most exciting team to watch in the NBA, but exciting couldn’t get them past the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Semifinals.
However, it was a huge success for the franchise to get that far for the just the second time since moving to Los Angeles in 1984. The next move that Sacks makes has to be the signing of Paul to a contract extension, before he can become a free agent after this upcoming season.
Paul has completely changed the outlook on how people perceive the Clippers organization, which had been the laughing stock of the NBA for the previous two decades. He made all of his teammates better and installed his competitive nature in every single person throughout the organization. If Sacks can get this move out of the way as soon as possible the Clippers will be in good hands for many years to come.
The 19 years in the Clippers organization will benefit Sacks in his new role. He was there for most of the long 30 year drought between winning a playoff series, which is the longest in NBA history. He was also there for the failure years of the Darius Miles, Odom, and Quentin Richardson era (My personal favorite era in all sports.) But Sacks has also been there for the very small amount of good times as well. He was there when the Clippers broke that horrible 30 year drought in 2006.
He was there when “Lob City” made its arrival to Los Angeles last season. Going through these things will have Sacks making the right decisions for the Clippers organization, because he knows what it’s like to be at the very bottom. The Clippers could have gone out and gave this job to a more experienced guy who had done this job before, but instead they gave it to a guy who has a lot more experience than people think.
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