Monday 22nd April 2024,
The Hoop Doctors

Doc Rivers on Clippers Trading Chris Paul: ‘He Left Because He Wanted to Be with James Harden’

Doc Rivers

Los Angeles Clippers coach and president Doc Rivers has some thoughts on the Chris Paul trade, and they amount to this: The point guard fled Hollywood to partner with James Harden. End of story.

Here are his exact words, via the Los Angeles Times‘ Broderick Turner:

If you detect some bitterness, you’re not alone. And why wouldn’t the loss sting? Paul is a top-10 player, and he remains the second-best point guard in the NBA, behind only Stephen Curry. His loss hurts.

Still, Rivers played the part of optimist, too:

He’s absolutely right. Paul was going to leave anyway. The Clippers turned him into Patrick Beverley, who’s on one of the best contracts in the league, plus a future first-round pick and a handful of worthy fliers (Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, etc.). So yes, this could have been worse.

Doc Rivers also sort of came to Paul’s defense. ESPN’s Michael Eaves cited Austin Rivers as a main reason why Paul left—an issue that ruined the point guard’s relationship with Doc. But the Clippers’ head honcho painted a different picture:

The lure of playing with Harden supersedes all this. Paul no doubt has issues with his teammates and his coach, and they with him. But the chance to split time with a fellow top-10 player who alleviates Paul’s offensive responsibilities likely called to him more than anything.

Reports arguing the contrary are just the typical bundles of dirty laundry that get aired out every time a player and team dissolve ties under less-than-ideal circumstances.

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