NBA rumors are swirling around Doc Rivers. When the season started, he stated that he would not be opposed to the idea of splitting up the trio of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan if the team did not go as deep into the playoffs as he had hoped. The Clippers season ended early in the first round against the Portland Trail Blazers. According to ESPN, though, Rivers wants to keep the core intact for at least another season.
Blake Griffin was seemingly on the trading block for a good portion of the NBA regular season; he had gotten himself into some trouble off the court. It embarrassed the Los Angeles Clippers a bit because he punched an employee of the franchise. It also did not help that analysts noticed how Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan were much more effective together whenever Griffin was not on the court with them.
Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan managed to make it to the end of the season together. Well, sort of. An injury knocked Paul and Griffin out of the NBA Playoffs. That was a big reason why the Portland Trailblazers were able to get the upset victory in the first round. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum were able to come back from a 2-0 deficit because of the injuries. That’s a possible reason why Doc Rivers was a bit more forgiving of the Los Angeles Clippers not making it to the conference finals.
Contractually, the Los Angeles Clippers have Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan for at least another season. Paul and Griffin can opt out of their contracts and become free agents in the summer of 2017. Jordan has that option in the summer of 2018. Opting out doesn’t mean that they’re going to be joining other NBA teams, though, as many players will be doing it so that they can take advantage of the higher salary cap.
For the longest time now, Blake Griffin has been a target of the Boston Celtics, the team that Doc Rivers used to coach. General manager Danny Ainge is looking to find a superstar, even though his team has been advertising the fact that they are embracing success without having a superstar on the roster.
The rest of the supporting cast might not be around, though. Jamal Crawford is the best sixth man in the NBA. He’ll get plenty of attention during free agency this summer. Despite not living up to his potential, Jeff Green will also get some attention from executives and coaches this summer. One player that will be staying with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan will be JJ Redick, as he cannot become a free agent until the summer of 2017.
An X factor for the Los Angeles Clippers is Paul Pierce. Though the former Boston Celtics star signed a multiple year deal with the Clippers, he hasn’t committed to staying beyond this season; he’s going to reassess things now that the regular season is over. There is a chance that he might retire from the NBA. If he sticks around, however, Doc Rivers might feel compelled to keep the core together for sure, so that Pierce can try to contend for another championship before retirement.
It’s rare to see a roster as talented as the one that the Los Angeles Clippers have be taken down. However, if you’re not winning championships in the NBA, then you could be out of a job. Doc Rivers fully understands that. Team owner Steve Ballmer paid $2 billion for the team, and he’s not the type of person that will settle for less.
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