Chris Paul and Austin Rivers are totally cool.
Rumors to the contrary flooded the NBA sphere following Paul’s trade to the Houston Rockets, but we now have confirmation, via Rivers himself, that everything is A-okay, per USA Today‘s Sam Amick:
This was hardly the first time someone had alleged that Paul and Doc Rivers didn’t see eye to eye, but the level of detail relating to Austin’s alleged role took the topic to a new level. So, after Paul had texted Rivers to refute the report, Austin picked up the phone.
“I called Chris and was like, ‘Chris, what’s going on?’’” Austin Rivers told USA TODAY Sports while in town to watch NBA summer league. “Chris is like, ‘This is the biggest bull(expletive) I’ve ever seen in my life.’ Chris was just like, ‘This is a joke.’ So I asked him, I’m like, ‘You don’t need to come out and say nothing publicly, I don’t need you to do that. It’s just going to make it even more, now they’re going to drag it out two more days. I’ll take it. I don’t care. I’ve been dealing with this (dynamic) since I was six (years old). I really don’t even care.’”
The two spoke for approximately 40 minutes, with Paul reiterating to Austin that his reasons for leaving had more to do with his desire to join James Harden’s Rockets than they did the Clippers.
Don’t you love it when things work out?
The original report from ESPN anchor Michael Eaves still appears to track on some level. Austin and Chris might be cool, but the relationship between Doc Rivers and Paul has been portrayed, nine times over, as one that was strained by a vast array of things.
And yet, even that alone doesn’t explain why Paul left. He hit the nail on the head while talking to Austin: He wanted to play with James Harden, a younger ball-dominant superstar who, in theory, should allow him to expend far less energy on the offensive end as a spot-up shooter. Next to him, Paul is better suited, albeit still a long shot, to contend with the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs and whatever other superpower crops up in the West.
For everything that was, and is, going on beyond the scenes, Paul’s exit from Los Angeles appears to have been a business (aka legacy) decision more than anything else.