The Clippers announced yesterday that the 22-year reign of Elgin Baylor as the team's General Manager has come to an end. Although the particulars of exactly when and what happened between Baylor and the club are still a mystery.
It's believed that the two parties parted ways sometime before the team moved into its new training facility in El Segundo, as Baylor wasn't seen there to start training camp, and was also completely left out of the team's pre-season media guide. As to the question of whether or not the termination of the relationship was voluntary or initiated by the club, Baylor won't say ... on the advice of his legal counsel
"There is a dispute, and on the advice of my attorney they did not want me to discuss it," Baylor said. "That's all I can say."
Obviously, the fact that there's a dispute and that attorneys are involved would lead you to believe that the separation was not on Baylor's terms, which is a shame considering his tenure with the organization.
Moving forward, the club will turn the GM duties over to head coach Mike Dunleavy, which isn't exactly a surprise. Dunleavy has been heavily involved in recent player negotiations, and was especially prominent in the Elton Brand situation over the summer. There was some back and forth between Dunleavy and Brand's agent, David Falk, who blamed the Clippers' non-responsiveness for the reason Brand opted to sign with Philadelphia. Dunleavy maintained that he had a verbal agreement with Brand, and that Falk orchestrated the deal with the Sixers at the 11th hour.
Either way, Dunleavy is more than qualified to handle the dual role of coach and GM, and he doesn't see it as a burden at all.
"I've done it before, in Milwaukee," he said of holding the dual positions. "My first job, with [the Lakers], Jerry West as GM, one of the greatest ever . . . I came in and he said, 'We'll never do a deal that you and I don't agree on.' I've always been involved in player decisions."
Being the head coach, Dunleavy is likely to realize fairly early on that his club has an extremely thin bench, and that if he doesn't attempt to shore it up fairly quickly as the acting GM, the team is likely headed for a very long season.