Once the Clippers were eliminated from the postseason, questions immediately began to surface as to what the makeup of the team might look like next season.
The core of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan has yet to carry L.A. to the promised land, and the Clippers need to decide if Jordan is worth locking up with a max contract this summer in order to keep the team intact.
A report emerged that Paul and Jordan had a falling out during the season, perhaps rooted in Jordan’s inability to shoot free throws, and the work he was or was not willing to put in to turn things around.
Doc Rivers, as you might imagine, was eager to quash those rumors during a recent radio appearance.
“I can put this to rest: They get along great,” Rivers told Fred Roggin of The Beast 980 on Thursday. “Clearly, like everybody, they don’t get along all the time, and they don’t get along with me all the time, either, by the way. I don’t see that as an issue. I think all three, and I’m including Blake in this as well, understand how important the other guy is to them. Meaning, they all three need each other to win, and I think all three get that and all three know that and all three want to do it together. To me, that’s the most important thing.”
It’s beyond interesting that Rivers threw Blake Griffin’s name into the mix during this discussion, because there were rumblings out of Los Angeles during the season that Paul and Griffin had a strained relationship at times, as well.
The Clippers finished the regular season with the league’s most efficient offense — that’s right, it was even better than that of the Golden State Warriors. And, they did it with little to no help from the reserve unit, which featured only Jamal Crawford as a reliable option to contribute in heavy minutes off the bench.
Paul is as fiery a competitor as they come, so it’s only natural that his personality would be grating to teammates over time — much in the same way that Kobe Bryant’s non-stop, demanding and ultra-competitive nature can get old with those who are even slightly less committed.
But that’s a far cry from irreconcilable differences, which is the point Rivers was likely trying to make, here, while largely dancing around the specific issue.