Former Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor spent 22 years barely accomplishing anything, making bad draft choices, and not succeeding at making the Clippers a good team.
Now, it’s well known that Baylor faced limits on how much money he was allowed to spend. The Clippers tended to use very little salary, and that makes it hard to ever build a real winner.
Still, Baylor was lousy at his job. Yet the Clippers let him keep his position for over two decades. That’s dedication.
The legendary former player and the organization have since gone their separate ways. But now, it’s getting ugly. The AP reports:
Elgin Baylor, the former Los Angeles Clippers general manager who left the team last fall after 22 years, has sued the franchise, the NBA and team owner Donald Sterling alleging employment discrimination. The lawsuit maintains that Baylor was “discriminated against and unceremoniously released from his position with the team on account of his age and his race” and that he was “grossly underpaid during his tenure with the Clippers, never earning more than $350,000 per year, when compared with the compensation scheme for general managers employed by every other team in the NBA.”
I side with the Clippers. From the outside, Baylor’s lawsuit sounds ridiculous.
Of course, that’s the thing. We’re all on the outside. No one knows what was going on behind closed doors. But, how bad could it have been? If Baylor was being mistreated, wouldn’t he have said or done something while he actually had his job? The guy had job security for over two decades, despite being fairly bad at what he did. The Clippers showed him amazing loyalty over the years.
Here’s a statement sent to InsideHoops.com and other media outlets from Los Angeles Clippers’ General Counsel Robert H. Platt, a partner at the law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips:
“Now that they have staged their press conference, it has become even more apparent that the decision to bring the suit was driven by publicity-seeking attorneys hoping to draw attention to themselves. Their false claims carry no weight and have no credibility.”
“Elgin Baylor was with the Clippers for 22 years and he received numerous salary increases and was always treated well.”
“During Elgin’s tenure, the other NBA teams employed over 125 General Managers with an average tenure of less than five years. In fact, despite the team’s poor draft history and record, Elgin was the NBA’s longest serving General Manager when he chose to resign.”
“Elgin rejected the opportunity to continue with the organization as a paid consultant or stay in his current job. People can judge for themselves the results of his performance during his 22 years on the job. We stand by our assertion that Elgin was always treated fairly and honorably.”
Unless some new information comes out, I hope the Clippers win out here.
– InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner