Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he declined a chance to speak with team owner Donald Sterling, who is alleged to have made racist comments in a recorded conversation.
‘‘I don’t think right now is the time or the place, for me, at least,” Rivers said in a conference call Monday. “I just took a pass.’’
Sterling is under fire for racially charged comments attributed to him in an audio tape posted on TMZ over the weekend. Rivers, the former Celtics coach, also said Monday that he believed Sterling made the comments.
Rivers is trying to focus his team on its first-round playoff series against the Golden State Warriors, which is tied at two games apiece.
“It’s very difficult to get everyone to think in one likeness right now, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Rivers. “That’s what I’m trying to do.”
Rivers canceled practice Monday, the day after a 118-97 loss to the Warriors, calling it a ‘‘non-basketball decision’’ that would allow his players to catch their breath.
Still, he said, most of the players were at the team facility and he planned to talk to them to ‘‘make sure they were in the right place.’’
Asked if he or anyone else would address the crowd before Tuesday night’s Game 5, Rivers said, “That’s still being discussed, and we’re going to continue to discuss it. I don’t know which way we’ll go with that. We don’t know the right answer.
“I can tell you this. We want to do right here. We want to make the right decisions here. We’re doing our very best to try to do that.
“If we feel like that is something that will help our fans, then it will be done. If we feel like that’s something they don’t need, then we won’t do it.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has scheduled a press conference Tuesday afternoon to discuss its investigation into the Sterling case.
“This is a very important decision,” said Rivers. “I think it’s a very strong message and I believe it will be. I think this is going to be handled the right way. I have a lot of faith in Adam and the league.”