Chris Paul Left Because Doc Rivers Didn’t Act ‘Team First’, But Gave Preferential Treatment To His Son

Photo Credit: Sam Forencich/Getty Images

Chris Paul Left Because Doc Rivers Didn’t Act ‘Team First’, But Gave Preferential Treatment To His Son


Ever since Chris Paul had joined the Los Angeles Clippers, he made a contender out of a lottery team. It may not have been enough for a deep playoff run, but that was mostly due to injuries. Paul changed the Clippers. They became the top dog in the city of angels and suddendly were a top landing spot for free agents. Chris Paul was more than a player, he was part coach and part manager, too. when Paul wanted a free agent, the Clippers tried to sign him, when Paul wanted a trade, they tried to make it possible. Once coach Doc Rivers took over it was a little bit different. CP3 and Doc had to work together, compromise, and make decisions as a team – which was kind of new for both.

This worked out for a long time, and the two even became friends. But Chris Paul leaving the Clippers, apparently has to do with Doc Rivers. A trade would have sent Austin Rivers, Paul Pierce, and Jamal Crawford to the New York Knicks for Carmelo Anthony and Sasha Vujacic. But the trade was shut down by Doc Rivers, because he wanted to keep his son Austin on the team. According to CBS Sports, “Paul was already annoyed with how Rivers gave preferential treatment to his son, but the trade was what broke the relationship.”

ESPN’s Michael Eaves gave some more insights on this situation:


“Here’s some information on the Chris Paul trade. First the MICRO:

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.”

(I was also told that when Paul met with the team to inform them of his plans, Jerry West was not in attendance. It was only Doc and Lawrence Frank.)


This move is a win-win for Chris Paul, and it was all part of a master plan. By opting into the final year of his current contract and pressuring the Clippers to trade him to Houston, Paul will be in the exact same situation next summer. He can re-sign with the Rockets for 5 years and $200+ million or sign a 4-year deal for about $150 million with another team. In addition, he will save several million dollars in state income tax.

Also, by being committed to the Rockets for only one season, it gives him a year to see if he can actually co-exist and pursue a title with James Harden. But even beyond that, this move gives Paul more flexibility to join LeBron James in 2018. If he stayed in LA or signed the max deal with the Clippers and forced them to do a sign-and-trade with the Rockets, Paul and LeBron could only join forces at one location. Now, they will have the ability to pick and choose wherever they want to go as a tandem, which could be Houston, LA {Lakers or Clippers (provided Doc is no longer with organization)}, or any other destination in-between.”


If this is true, and Rivers really did pass on Anthony in order for his son to stay with the team, it would be highly unprofessional. But, Doc Rivers had informed the media and said that this was not true. Paul wanted to join forces with Harden. He said:


“At the end of the day, when you lose a CP, it’s a big loss. I thank him for the years he was here. He left because he wanted to be with James Harden. Let’s not get that twisted. I wish him well. I have no problem with that. Do I disagree? Yeah, I think he would have been better served here. But that’s not for me. That’s CP to decide and he decided against that. We’ve heard all the stories about Blake and DJ and Austin. I can’t comment just on Austin because it’s just not right. We’ve heard he left because of all three today. He left because of DJ, he left because of Blake and now he left because of Austin. We know he didn’t leave because of that. There is a lot of speculation on why he left. The one thing I know is he didn’t leave because of any of those three guys. He left because he felt like he would have a better chance to win somewhere else.”


You may also like...