The pleasantries quickly gave way to a more sobering discussion when Doc Rivers first met with Chris Paul.
Topics of conversation did not include Paul's six All-Star game appearances, his unmatched ability to close out games or his status as possibly the best point guard in the NBA.
"He pretty much told me I wasn't anything," Paul said Monday during the Clippers' annual media day. "He told me I hadn't done anything, and he was right."
"He's been straight-up, he's been very real and when he talks you can tell he has the attention of everybody," super-sub Jamal Crawford said. "Winning that championship, being there contending, he did it as a player and now as a coach. He has everyone's respect."
He told DeAndre Jordan that he should contend for NBA defensive player of the year. He told Blake Griffin that he needed to develop his face-up offensive game. He told Paul that he could help him improve on both sides of the ball.
Griffin already appeared to be reading straight out of Rivers' improvement manual, echoing concerns about transition defense and stopping teams from making three-point baskets as if his coach were whispering in his ear.
No one is off limits from Rivers' true feelings. Not even the media.
Rivers wasn't even five seconds into his opening remarks when he let reporters and photographers inside the team's Playa Vista practice facility know how he felt about them.
"Good to see everyone," Rivers said. "I don't really mean that, but good to be back and back to work."