A day after publishing his interview with Chris Paul, The Undefeated’s Marc Spears released another Clippers-related back-and-forth this morning, this time with coach and team president Doc Rivers. The two can be seen almost as companion pieces, conducted by the same reporter and giving perspectives from both sides of the blockbuster CP3-Rockets trade.
There aren’t any major nuggets or scandalous reveals to be found in either account, as both Paul and Rivers stayed diplomatic and refused to cast shade on the other (reading between the lines, it seems like there were some tensions — although there’s not enough in here to suggest that it went beyond the level of conflict you’ll see with any good team).
Could this be read as Doc being miffed that CP3 didn’t inform him personally? Possibly, but it’s hard to glean too much meaning from an edited interview transcript. Either way, at most it seems like a minor grievance to Rivers, who otherwise stuck to the same line that all involved parties have been repeating: Paul’s decision was purely professional, based on what gave him the best chance of winning.
Doc’s claim that CP3 posted his best numbers under him the last few years seems a little dubious, as most would agree Paul’s pinnacle came during the ‘08 and ‘09 seasons in New Orleans before injuries made him a different player. However, his per-minute production the last few years wasn’t too far off (albeit in significantly fewer minutes), and his best true shooting season actually came last year in LA.
Again, despite losing Chris Paul and arguably sealing shut what remained of their title window, the Clippers deserve to be judged not only on their merits but also on how far they’ve come from the dumpster fire of a franchise they once were. Players like Blake Griffin (and possibly DeAndre Jordan) wanting to play their entire careers on this team is something that would’ve been unthinkable not too long ago.
Rivers also spoke on his role as one of only three black team presidents currently in the league (alongside Magic Johnson and Masai Ujiri). As noted by others before, the shift in NBA front offices from former players to PhDs and execs without prior NBA affiliations (coming from business schools and Wall Street) exacerbates a visible racial disparity when compared to the league, where 75% of players are black. Although Doc’s main job is just focusing on the Clippers, he clearly feels some responsibility for the future of the NBA as a whole.