The Los Angeles Clippers announced they have hired former Sports Illustrated writer Lee Jenkins as Director of Research & Identity.
The Los Angeles Clippers announced on Monday night that they have hired former Sports Illustrated writer Lee Jenkins in a new position. Jenkins will be the franchise’s Director of Research and Identity, a position that is the first of it’s kind.
Jenkins spent the last eleven years writing for Sports Illustrated where he published over 70 cover stories with a focus on star NBA players.
In a press release from the team, President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank clarified what they want out of Jenkins.
"“Given Lee’s talent, knowledge, and credibility, we hope to blend his approach with our existing evaluation systems and highlight the personalities of our players. He is the NBA’s preeminent storyteller and adding him to the team is a reflection of Steve’s commitment to innovation and building a best-in-class organization”"
Jenkins will work hand in hand with Frank as well as General Manager Michael Winger and consultant Jerry West.
"What I’m hoping I can help them with is a little bit more of the “who” because I think NBA teams have done an incredible job with the “what”."
Jenkins does acknowledge that with the new position there will be some trial and error. This position is the first of it’s kind and will be a unique experience to watch. While the title and description is somewhat vague, Steve Ballmer and the Clippers felt that they could innovate and expand their recruiting with this move.
The focus on the players has the potential to be huge for the Clippers. While the team might not have the glitz and glamour of the Los Angeles Lakers, Jenkins will be able to provide insight into the players wants and needs on a personal level.
With two max contracts likely available next summer, this hire could give the franchise another angle to take when trying to bring in big name free agents like Kawhi Leonard or Jimmy Butler. Throughout his writing career, Jenkins has established relationships with both players and agents which can help the team get a foot in the door.
Whatever the result, this is a bold move for the Clippers as they try to reinvent their identity and strive for the future.