Baylor Sues Clippers For Being A Bad GM

The Clippers are a mess on the court because they have long been a mess off the court.

Sadly, that is not a revelation. But now the dysfunctionality of the Clippers — and the dysfunctional thinking of Clippers management at all levels — will get aired out in court. Elgin Baylor stayed 22 years in a job where he said he was underpaid and discriminated against, and now he is suing the team, owner Donald Sterling and the NBA.

You get what you pay for — the Clippers didn’t pay much and they got a bad GM in return.

Baylor made $350,000 a year the last five years, which isn’t chump change but is low by NBA General Manager standards. But Baylor was not a good GM. He took over the team in 1986 and that year the Clippers won 12 games. The next season they won 17. Through his first five years at the helm, the Clippers averaged 60 losses a season. It really never got much better than that.

He should have been fired 20 years ago. He should have been fired every year for the last 20. For the last few years, Mike Dunleavy was the de facto GM and Baylor was a figurehead. On one level, any paycheck Baylor collected for those two decades should be considered gravy, and he should be thankful he got those and not sued saying he didn’t get enough.

But Baylor was also in an impossible spot as a GM. The owner cares only about keeping costs down and turning a profit (and he does turn a healthy one every year). Winning is irrelevant. There have been rumors for years that Baylor wanted to make moves that were shot down by ownership as too costly — so the team’s best draft picks often just walked away or were dumped in lopsided trades.

What did Baylor do about this outrage? He sat there and took it, collecting his check. Someone with a real passion for winning would have threatened to quit then followed through one of those times his moves were rejected. But that was not Baylor, who wanted the job too bad to risk it.

Now that he is out, he has a lawsuit that literally compares the Clippers organization to a Southern plantation. He’s not totally wrong. But now is an odd time to complain and file a lawsuit about it. He should have fought for some sort of justice for Clippers fans when he had the power.

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