The Clippers Divide: Chris Paul Rift With Doc Rivers Motivated Departure
Now that Chris Paul is officially a member of the Houston Rockets there will be a myriad of reports trying to break down the “hows” and “whys” of the departure of a future Hall of Fame point guard from a team that desperately needs his presence.
Let’s face it, the Los Angeles Clippers have been in a rut the past few seasons. Haunted by the ghost of NBA playoff shortcomings and frustrated that their potential was never fully realized on the floor.
While the Clippers were good, they should have been great.
And now that Paul has bolted Los Angeles to join James Harden in Houston, the details have started emerging as to what really went wrong, besides the disappointing seasons, in Los Angeles.
Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical stated that “Paul had a strong desire to play” with Harden, which motivated the Clippers to trade their franchise cornerstone. Los Angeles didn’t want to lose Paul without any compensation.
But Clippers’ head coach Doc Rivers had a more interesting and direct take on Paul’s departure.
“He left because he wanted to be with James Harden,” Rivers said, per Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times (h/t Bleacher Report).
“Let’s not get that twisted. I wish him well. I have no problem with that.”
Rivers had this to say about the compensation for Paul; “Under the circumstances, I thought we did terrific. Getting Patrick Beverley and Dekker and Montrezl was very important for us.”
But Rivers wasn’t done with sounding off on the trade.
“He [Paul] left because of DJ [DeAndre Jordan], he left because of Blake [Griffin] and now he left because of Austin [Rivers],” Rivers said.
“We know he didn’t leave because of that.”
“I hate the way it ended” Rivers said. “I wish we could have ended it better, as far as winning. But as a franchise, we love where we’re at.”
SportsCenter’s Michael Eaves reported Wednesday that Paul and some teammates felt that Austin Rivers acted entitled because his father (Doc Rivers) was the coach and president of basketball operations, and that Doc coddled and favored Austin.
Eaves went on to site a source that claimed “Chris despises Doc,”.
“It led to resentment within the locker room, which often played out during games,” Eaves reported on his Facebook page.
“One of Paul’s biggest contentions with Doc was that Paul, and other players, felt Doc treated Austin more favorably than other players. He would yell at guys for certain things during games and practices but not get on Austin in the same manner for similar transgressions.”
Paul was also miffed that Rivers rejected a trade that would have landed New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and Sasha Vujacic. The Clippers would have had to part with Jamal Crawford, Paul Pierce and Austin Rivers.
Doc’s decision apparently showed Paul that Doc was more interested in keeping his son on the roster than acquiring the talent necessary to put the team in a better position for postseason success.
Austin has responded on Twitter to the reports.
Now Houston is moving on to the next phase of what should be an aggressive offseason.
According to ESPN.com’s Tim MacMahon, the Rockets “think they are getting Carmelo Anthony or Paul George.”
The Clippers will now how to turn their attention to Blake Griffin and rebuilding a franchise in distress with the departure of one of the all-time greats.