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:
- Newly-signed forward Nicolas Batum could be the sort of ball-handling, play-making wing the Clippers are sorely lacking off the bench, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Jovan Buha of The Athletic also examines Batum’s fit, noting that the veteran’s ability to play multiple positions should be an asset too.
- Although Bogdan Bogdanovic is no longer in the picture, Kings head coach Luke Walton isn’t ready to lock in Buddy Hield as his starting shooting guard, preferring to encourage open competition in camp, writes James Ham of NBC Sports California.
- Jose M. Romero of The Arizona Republic passes along general manager James Jones‘ comments on the Suns‘ offseason moves, including his desire to establish a “collective identity” that supports star guards Devin Booker and Chris Paul.
- Warriors head coach Steve Kerr confirmed during his media session on Tuesday that he expects newly-added forward Kelly Oubre to be in the starting lineup, but said he’s not prepared to name a starting center yet, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic details.