When Chris Paul decided he was leaving the Clippers for the Rockets and forced a shotgun trade, the spin started. Part of that was a report from a former Clipper broadcaster that Paul left in part because of frustration with coach/GM Doc Rivers and perceived favoritism toward his son, Austin Rivers.
Doc Rivers denied that was true, but Austin called up CP3 and confronted his former teammate directly, Rivers told Sam Amick of the USA Today. Paul denied it was true.
“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.’”
In the wake of Paul’s decision, there was spin from both sides. That said, these reports do not have to be mutually exclusive.
There has been a sense among some — maybe many — players in the Clipper locker room of favoritism for Austin by Doc, I can confirm (I do not know Paul’s feelings on the matter).
That doesn’t mean Paul’s motivation in leaving wasn’t to play with James Harden and try to form their own super team to take on the Warriors. Paul is an incredibly competitive man and these Clippers — with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan — seemed to have run their course. Paul surveyed the landscape, chose where he wanted to go, and the Clippers did better than was expected in getting players back — Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, and Montrezl Harrell.
Both sides have moved on.
There have been questions about how well the two point guard approach will work in Houston, both Harden and Paul are used to the ball in their hands, but the Rockets are confident.
“James is so unselfish, Chris is so unselfish, it makes the other guys play that much harder, because they know if they run they are either going to catch it or get hit in the head with it because it’s coming. The ball is coming,” Rockets’ assistant coach Roy Rogers, who is the team’s head coach at Summer League, said Monday. “That’s what was so much fun about our team last year, guys were not searching shots, they didn’t have to because of the way we played. We expect the same this year. Those guys are mature, they know what our goals are, what we’re striving for, we’re excited.”