Clippers Rumors: Rivers, CP3, Offseason, West

While Doc Rivers has long been viewed as an adept manager of relationships and egos, an in-depth look at the veteran head coach by ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz suggests that Rivers may actually be overrated as a locker-room manager, but underrated as a “practitioner of X’s and O’s.” As Arnovitz writes, Rivers has done an excellent job this season with a Clippers squad hit hard by injuries and lacking the star power of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. For his part, Rivers has enjoyed himself in 2017/18 despite falling short of the playoffs.

“This group this season — it’s been a breath of fresh air,” Rivers said. “It’s been a group that has followed. They allow you to coach them. They’re competitive as f—. We’ve got a bunch of guys who just want to compete. We have a formula — our pace, our attacks and our draw-and-kicks. We’re not good enough go off-formula and win. Defensively, our switches and our traps — we’re going against the grain.”

By comparison, Rivers’ comments about his 2016/17 squad, led by Paul and Griffin, suggest that he wasn’t exactly devastated when that particular Clippers era came to an end.

“I was aloof last year. I didn’t want to be here with these guys,” Rivers said of ’16/17. “I wanted to coach, but this team was a hard team to coach. I’m aloof anyway — I’m an introvert — and it was a hard group to like because they didn’t like each other. For me, you have to want to figure it out. And we lost the ability to want to figure it out.”

Here’s more on Rivers, plus a few other Clippers-related notes:

  • Next season would be the final year of Rivers’ contract with the Clippers, but sources tell Arnovitz that there has been “no meaningful outreach” from the team about a possible contract extension. Meanwhile, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report says that the buzz from executives around the NBA is that the Clippers and Rivers are likely headed for a split “sooner than later.”
  • Rivers is still saying the right things about his position with the Clippers. Asked by Arnovitz if he wants to remain with the organization, Rivers replied, “I love it here. I love the guys. I love the organization. It’s so much better than when I got here. So, most likely, yes.”
  • According to Arnovitz, Chris Paul met with Clippers owner Steve Ballmer last year after CP3 decided to leave for Houston, and the veteran point guard told Ballmer that Rivers was one of the factors that contributed to his departure.
  • In a column for Basketball Insiders, David Yapkowitz lays out a possible plan for the Clippers’ offseason. Pincus also previews the team’s summer at Bleacher Report, exploring the odds of veterans like DeAndre Jordan, Austin Rivers, Milos Teodosic, and Wesley Johnson exercising their player options for 2018/19.
  • Entering free agency, Jerry West‘s abilities as a recruiter shouldn’t be overlooked, writes Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype.
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