Chris Paul‘s tenure with the Los Angeles Clippers ended Wednesday when the team shipped him to the Houston Rockets, according to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, and the trade signaled the conclusion of what was reportedly a contentious relationship with head coach Doc Rivers.
According to SportsCenter‘s Michael Eaves, Paul had begun to resent Rivers because he, along with other Clippers players, thought the head coach was coddling his son, guard Austin Rivers.
“It led to resentment within the locker room, which often played out during games,” Eaves wrote. “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.”
Along those same lines, Paul reportedly became fed up with Rivers—who is also the team’s president of basketball operations—when he nixed a trade last season that could have landed the Clippers Carmelo Anthony.
“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.”
Citing a league executive, Eaves reported Paul now “despises” Rivers because of how those situations were handled.
Rivers’ daughter, Callie, disputed the report shortly after it was published:
With Wednesday’s split, both Paul and the Clippers will embark on new eras.
For Paul, that means linking up with James Harden and possibly one other star, according to ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman, to challenge the Golden State Warriors for Western Conference superiority.
Citing a source, ESPN.com’s Tim MacMahon reported Wednesday the Rockets “think they are getting Carmelo Anthony or Paul George.”
On the flip side, the Clippers netted a solid return with Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, Sam Dekker and a 2018 first-round pick all reportedly bound for Hollywood.
Paul’s departure also opened the door for the Clippers to focus on re-signing Blake Griffin when free agency starts July 1, according to ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne.
Making do without Paul won’t be easy considering he was the maestro who ran Rivers’ offense the last four seasons, but L.A. will have the pieces to remain competitive in the short term if Griffin can be convinced to stay tethered to the Clippers for the foreseeable future.
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