Chris Paul revealed to Steve Ballmer that Doc Rivers contributed to exit
Chris Paul’s departure for the Houston Rockets was viewed as a huge surprise, once the team pulled off the trade in the summer — now largely viewed as the inevitable conclusion of a marriage between the point guard and coach Doc Rivers that simply did not work.
Yet the dime maestro left some lasting thoughts for owner Steve Ballmer after his exit, pointing to Rivers as a “contributing factor” of his departure for Clutch City.
“Clippers owner Steve Ballmer reached out to his former point guard. As a relatively new owner, Ballmer wanted to learn from his organization’s mistakes and invited Paul to share his thoughts about the current state of the franchise and, more pointedly, his reasons for leaving. When the two met over breakfast, league sources say, Paul stated that Rivers was one of the contributing factors.”
Paul hasn’t been the only one, with former Clippers sharpshooter J.J. Redick having a war of words with Rivers before making his debut with the Philadelphia 76ers this season.
According to Arnovitz’s sources, Rivers had lost control of a locker room dominated by different egos.
“More than half a dozen players from the 2013-14 to 2016-17 Clippers declined to speak on the record about Rivers’ role in the “dynamic,” but a reliable consensus emerged. To a man, they saw a coach who grew frustrated with his inability to manage a complex locker room and who began to act out himself.”
“Several former Clippers characterized in Rivers a tendency to placate a player by telling him what he wanted to hear, on occasion even criticizing a teammate that player was beefing with. Rivers didn’t account for the fact that players, even ones who aren’t always simpatico, talk among themselves and exchange notes.”
While Paul’s exit was far from a mutiny, it led to the eventual departure of the likes of Redick and Jamal Crawford — two key components of their success — as the Clippers made their mind by signing Blake Griffin to a five-year, $173 million deal, a move they would ultimately regret.
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