Doc Rivers loves nothing more than talking basketball. And with the scandal involving former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling beginning to fade into the background, Rivers figures the focus will return to the court of sport.

The courtroom drama over the team's ownership subsided earlier this summer, with Sterling ousted after 33 years after being banned for life by the NBA for racist remarks, and Steve Ballmer plunking down a record $2 billion to buy the franchise.

On the eve of training camp Monday, Rivers spoke highly of his burgeoning relationship with Ballmer. The two chat by phone frequently; by contrast, Rivers almost never spoke to Sterling.

Rivers says Ballmer is allowing the coaching staff to do what it wants within reason.