LOOKING AHEAD
Eric Patten | 6/8/12

With the departure of Vice President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey on June 4, the search is now on for his replacement. The day-to-day basketball operations will be handled by a trio of experienced personnel with years of experience in the organization ensuring stability President Andy Roeser, Head Coach Vinny Del Negro, and Director of Player Personnel Gary Sacks.

And while the triumvirate may be unconventional, they bring continuity and perspective to the position in the interim. Roeser, who is one of the longest tenured executives in the league, recently concluded his 28th season with the Clippers and has been a part of all the team's key decisions, including the acquisition of superstar Chris Paul in December 2011.

As head coach, Del Negro led the Clippers to a franchise-best .606 winning percentage in 2011-12 and worked in tandem with Olshey in determining the direction of the team in his two seasons. He also spent two years working in the front office of the Phoenix Suns, as Assistant General Manager in 2007 and as Director of Player Personnel in 2006.

Sacks has worked his way through the organization as a somewhat unheralded member of the front office for 18 years. He has experience dealing with the salary cap and statistical analytics. He's developed positive relationships with the team's current roster and has been extensively involved in scouting NBA free agents as well as college and international prospects, including an impressive track record as a talent evaluator.

Sacks was a member of Mike Dunleavy's staff in 2008 when the team selected Eric Gordon and DeAndre Jordan with the seventh and 35th picks respectively and has played a role in drafting Blake Griffin, Eric Bledsoe, and Trey Thompkins as well as successful lottery picks Lamar Odom (1999) and Chris Kaman (2003).

Perhaps most importantly, Sacks, Roeser and Del Negro are all familiar with the Clippers' immediate needs and are intent on building around Griffin and Paul, the team's present and future cornerstones.

The Clippers are ripe with assets like Bledsoe, Jordan, a number of expiring contracts, and a 2013 first-round pick. And the top of the line practice facility and Los Angeles market remain attractive ancillary features.

As Olshey made a point of saying two weeks earlier, the Clippers are a destination franchise. The desirability of playing alongside Paul and Griffin in the nation's second largest market did not disappear and neither did the monumental shift in culture that began in 2009 when Griffin arrived.

Olshey may have played a substantial role in piecing together the talent, but he did it in collaboration with Del Negro, Sacks, and many others. And, of course, it ultimately took the players and coaching staff to deliver on whatever potential and talent was assembled.

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