An Alleged Feud with Doc Rivers may have Prompted the Chris Paul Trade
By Brandon Simmons
The Los Angeles Clippers made the deal of the summer and everyone should thank Doc Rivers for this. According to Yahoo, there has been some friction brewing between Paul and the Clippers coach over a variety of reasons. One of those reasons comes from former Clippers commentator and current ESPN Ancho Michael Eaves. Eaves dished out the dirt on his Facebook page:
Paul’s relationship with Doc Rivers started to deteriorate rapidly after the Clippers acquired Austin Rivers. Several members of the team felt Austin acted entitled because his dad was both the coach and the President of Basketball Operations. In the view of the tenured players, Austin Rivers never tried to fit in, and when players tried to address the situation with him, he still did not respond the way the core of the team wanted him to. It led to resentment within the locker room, which often played out during games. 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.
But what really solidified Paul’s dissatisfaction with Doc was a proposed trade involving Carmelo Anthony last season. New York offered Carmelo and Sasha Vujacic to the Clippers in exchange for Jamal Crawford, Paul Pierce and Austin Rivers, a deal to which Rivers ultimately said no. That event led Paul to feel that keeping his son on the roster was more important to Doc than improving the team. So, ultimately, Paul lost both trust and faith in Doc. As one league executive put it, “Chris despises Doc.”
It seems like a stretch but it can certainly explain a lot. Not too long ago, former Clipper Glen “Big Baby” Davis was going around expressing his own frustrations about Rivers. When River’s son commented on the criticism, Davis replied with an Instagram video and echoed similar sentiments that were said in the Facebook post.
The Clippers traded Paul to the Houston Rockets in exchange for forward Sam Dekker, guards Lou Williams and Patrick Beverly, as well as a 2018 first round pick. It was a move that was nowhere near secret. It was rumored as early as last month that the All-Star point guard would be opting out of the final year of his contract and finding another team. The only difference is that the Spurs were the early favorites and then it switched to being the Rockets within the last few weeks.
As for coach Rivers, he has denied that his perceived issues with Paul forced him to leave; however, it is something that the front office are probably noticing between the incident with Davis and now the team losing a superstar. Paul is leaving a Clippers team that seems to be heading into disarray, if they are not already there. Since his arrival, the franchise has enjoyed some of their best playoff success, but never made it past the 2nd round. It is a statistic that has haunted, not only them but also CP3 his entire career. Despite the talents of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan and the championship experience of head coach Doc Rivers, the Clippers just were not able to get the championship that some people hoped they would get with this roster. With the Los Angeles Lakers suddenly looking like they are heading back to their glory, Rivers might be following behind Paul through the exit as well.
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