Pacific Notes: Clippers, Batum, Hield, Suns, Warriors

In a fascinating, in-depth article for The Athletic, Jovan Buha takes a deep dive into the chemistry issues that plagued the Clippers during the 2019/20 season, exploring the club’s leadership void and various players’ grievances with the preferential treatment that star forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George received.

While Buha and others have reported about the Clippers’ locker room issues throughout the year, the latest Athletic story includes more specific details, including many of the perks provided to Leonard and George that irked teammates and compromised the positive culture that players bought into during the previous two seasons.

According to Buha, the two stars had power over the Clippers’ practice and travel schedule. Additionally, teammates believed Leonard and George were allowed to pick and choose when they played (not just sitting out games, but manipulating their playing time within games).

There are too many specific stories and details in Buha’s report to pass along all of them, but the upshot is that the Clippers are hoping new head coach Tyronn Lue – with the help of new roster additions like Serge Ibaka – will be able to address many of those issues, putting a greater emphasis on accountability. Sources tell The Athletic that players are excited to play for Lue and that Leonard and George are aware they must “establish a healthier locker room dynamic” in 2020/21.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

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14 thoughts on “Pacific Notes: Clippers, Batum, Hield, Suns, Warriors

  1. OrienGreene

    I don’t get why Doc Rivers gets the props he does. It was obvious the Clippers had some serious chemistry issues.

    • Noel1982

      He’s a bit overrated but he’s a solid coach at worse he’s one of only 7 active coaches to coach their time to a championship! Lue has a lot to prove with his first coaching gig without lebron

    • PhillyPhan69

      I was not excited about the Dic hire, but he is a solid coach and that is why he gets props. He has won a championship, he is number 11 all time in coaching wins ( and if Lol…he wins 2 games he moves into the 10 spot), number 7 all time in playoff wins (2nd among active coaches).

      Does he have flaws? Sure but he is easily in a top 10 current NBA coaches IMO.

      His hire is growing on me, but time will tell. This is going to be a hard year for all coaches but especially for ones new to their teams and trying both to implement systems and gauge player combos.

      • Noel1982

        He’s the same coach that coached the overachieving non star clippers to the playoffs in the west the year before! Even took two games from the then still healthy warriors

    • Little_Dunker_45

      Hes handsome hes good on the mic and won a title with a classic franchise

    • SheaGoodbye

      Good coach, but maybe not so good at reigning in big personalities. T’was a bad match from the start once Kawhi and PG3 arrived.

  2. Lionel Muggeridge

    Rivers really lost as a coach last season. Let players walk all over him and not making changes during the playoffs were unforgivable mistakes

  3. julyn82001

    I have a question, at the end of the day, these players – stars or otherwise- are bounded by a legal contract that supposedly stipulates not only what they make but also what they are supposed to follow. Does a contract includes these preferential treatments? It’s ridiculous and laughable.

    • Rocket32

      julyn82001 They aren’t owed preferential treatment, but the Clippers basically have to do whatever it takes to keep Kawhi and PG happy. If both, especially Kawhi, were to bolt after this season to FA it would be a disaster. Clippers won’t own their own 1st round picks again until 2027.

      Clippers might be able to return to title contention around 2030.

  4. bowserhound

    If Doc let’s Embiid and Simmons get away with the same stuff PG and KL did in LA, Philly is doomed. I really don’t see Lue, Ibaka and Batum stepping up into a leader, and we all know the carryover roster is also not capable. Should be fun to watch regardless.

  5. SheaGoodbye

    “According to Buha, the two stars had power over the Clippers’ practice and travel schedule. Additionally, teammates believed Leonard and George were allowed to pick and choose when they played (not just sitting out games, but manipulating their playing time within games).”

    It’s one thing to give star players preferential treatment: happens all the time in sports. But this? This is too much, if true.

    And it’s doubly problematic when it would become a locker room issue and the organization would do nothing to address the festering problem.

    The Clippers got what they deserved last year. Let’s see if they wisen up on the next go-around.

  6. KnickerbockerAl

    This is on Doc. No player or players can run the team. Stars got input and a big voice. But that comes with leadership not biggest contract. The greatest and best ever all know it’s a team gm. This wasn’t a team. No wonder they blew it. I hope they learned their lesson. I can’t believe Doc let this happened. He deserves to be fired.

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