Chris Paul: Doc Rivers told me I’m nothing

Chris Paul ClippersLos Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul has been one of the best point guards in the NBA for several years. The former Rookie of the Year has been selected to six All-Star teams and is a three-time All-NBA First Teamer. Despite that, CP3 is still in pursuit of his first championship. And until he gets there, new Clippers head coach Doc Rivers would like him to know that he has accomplished nothing.

Paul recently told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports that Rivers knocked him down a peg the first time the two ever met face-to-face.

“As professional athletes, you always want someone to push you and motivate you,” Paul explained. “The first meeting I had with Doc, he pretty much told me I wasn’t anything. He told me I hadn’t done anything in this league, and he was right. You don’t always want somebody that’s going to tell you what you want to hear.”

Rivers is very much known as a player’s coach. For the most part, guys who play for him want to win for him. He got the Boston Celtics to buy into a championship mentality immediately when the team traded for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in 2007, and he’ll be looking to do the same with his new core of superstars in LA. However, that does not mean Rivers will allow players to walk on him, as there were times when he was hard on Rajon Rondo during his tenure in Boston.

“One thing I learned about Doc is he is going to expect you to do certain things,” CP3 said. “He’s not going to baby us. He is going to treat us like men and he is going to give us that opportunity.”

As a former NBA point guard, Rivers should be able to help Paul develop his game even further. Rondo emerged as one of the league’s best floor generals under Rivers, and Paul is a much better offensive player than Rajon. If Rivers and CP3 get along from day one and respect one another, the possibilities should be endless.

Chris Paul reportedly told Clippers he would go to Rockets if they didn’t get Doc

Chris Paul ClippersThe Los Angeles Clippers may have re-engaged the Boston Celtics in trade talks for Doc Rivers in June because of a threat from Chris Paul.

Writing at Grantland, ESPN’s Bill Simmons says the Clips went back to the negotiating table after initially turning down a deal with the Celtics because their all-star point guard threatened to leave for the Houston Rockets if they didn’t acquire the coach, which they eventually did.

Here’s what Simmons says:

To Chris Paul, who basically told the Clippers that after they squashed the first incarnation of their Doc Rivers trade. Chris didn’t like that. He let them know he was heading to Houston to team up with Dwight. And he wasn’t kidding. For about 36 hours, Morey probably felt like all 11 guys in Ocean’s Eleven. You know what happened next: The Clippers blinked, the Doc trade got revived and finished, and the Clippers were offering Chris 107 million reasons to play for him. Crisis averted. The lesson, as always: Chris Paul runs the Clippers.

This report jives with what we’ve previously written. We posted a story in June that said the Clippers re-engaged the Celtics in trade talks for Rivers because CP3 pressured them. The talk all throughout the offseason was that Paul wanted the Clippers to get rid of Vinny Del Negro as coach, though he was angry with those rumors getting out.

The real interesting part of this report is that CP3 was threatening to join Dwight Howard in Houston. That means Howard knew in June that he was going to sign with the Rockets. It also means the report that Paul and Howard were talking about teaming up is true. It also means what everyone already knew: the Clippers are at CP3’s mercy.

H/T Slam

Chris Paul reportedly telling teams he is staying with Clippers

Chris Paul ClippersNote to NBA teams not named the Los Angeles Clippers: don’t bother pursuing Chris Paul, because the point guard plans to remain with the Clips. At least that’s what ESPN is reporting.

ESPN the Magazine’s Chris Broussard reports that CP3’s representatives have told inquiring teams not to bother pursuing him because the All-Star point guard plans to remain with the Clippers despite being a free agent.

Paul was traded to the Clippers from the New Orleans Hornets prior to the 2011-2012 NBA season and took an immediate liking to LA. He even bought a house in the Bel Air Crest gated community. There were some concerns that Paul was unhappy with the team over the implication that his dissatisfaction with Vinny Del Negro cost the coach his job, but the team’s ability to acquire Doc Rivers may have changed his attitude toward the team; Paul badly wanted Rivers as the team’s coach.

[Related: Chris Paul Buying Avril Lavigne’s Bel Air Crest Mansion in LA]

Broussard says there were only slim chances of CP3 leaving the Clippers before Rivers was hired and that the point guard did entertain the thought of teaming with Dwight Howard and joining the Atlanta Hawks. That must have only been briefly entertained, because it sounds like Paul is staying in LA, while Howard may be headed to Houston.

Chris Paul reportedly pressuring Clippers to make deal with Celtics

Vinny-Del-Negro-Chris-Paul-Out-of-ShapeThe Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers may not be done dealing just yet. Earlier this week, LA reportedly rejected Boston’s offer of Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers for DeAndre Jordan and two first-round picks. It was believed that the Celtics wanted point guard Eric Bledsoe in the deal in addition to Jordan, but that may not be the case anymore.

Instead, the proposed deal — without Bledsoe — is reportedly still on the table and awaiting approval from Clippers owner Donald Sterling. According to Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe, Chris Paul and his camp have reignited the trade talks by pressuring LA’s front office to pull the trigger on the deal.

League sources reportedly told the Globe that Paul feels two first-round picks and Jordan is a small price to pay for an elite NBA coach and a veteran forward with championship experience. Keep in mind that Paul is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next month. CP3 was reportedly angry with the team a few weeks ago after he felt they made it look like he was the reason Vinny Del Negro was fired.

While Sterling isn’t exactly the type of owner who would do something simply because a star player tells him to, you would think Paul’s opinion holds some weight. The Clippers need to re-sign Paul, and it sounds like pulling the trigger on the trade with the Celtics would almost guarantee they would be able to do that.

As a side note, Rivers is a player’s coach and was an All-Star point guard doing his playing career. The fact that Paul is excited about the potential of playing for him is hardly a surprise.

Atlanta Hawks may have tampered via Dwight Howard, Chris Paul letter

Chris Paul ClippersThe Atlanta Hawks may have jumped the gun a bit by using the names of impending free agents in an attempt to boost their ticket sales, and the NBA could make them pay for it. A recent letter that was sent to prospective ticket buyers hyped up the possibility of Atlanta making a run at Dwight Howard and Chris Paul this offseason. Both Howard and Paul are under contract with other teams.

Per NBA rules, teams are not permitted to speak publicly about players who are under contract with other teams until they officially become free agents on July 1.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the letter was headilined “Hot New Player news: Chris Paul and Dwight Howard.” The opening statement read as follows: “The buzz around our offseason is more than heating up. With massive cap space, 4 draft picks, and free agency rapidly approaching, we sit in the best position in the NBA. Player interest is skyrocketing as the possibilities of landing Chris Paul & Dwight Howard become more and more of a reality.”

The letter also included a link to a story about Paul being unhappy with the Clippers over the notion that he forced the team to fire former coach Vinny Del Negro. It told fans to snatch up tickets before the Hawks make their “signings” and “there will be no seats left.”

Hawks president Bob Williams issued a statement on Tuesday acknowledging that the team has in all likelihood committed a rules violation, but stressed that it was a team employee who authored the letter on his own.

“The letter that has been referred to was written by one of our season-ticket reps of his own volition,” the statement said. “While certainly he is a member of our business staff, his specific reference clearly does not represent how our basketball operations or our business staff have consistently communicated about free agency. It is unfortunate that this mistake, by a single ticket rep with no ill intent, occurred.”

You would think the team would proofread outgoing letters a little more carefully for reasons like this. In any event, the Hawks will probably be looking at a hefty fine. Paul may be upset with the Clippers and Howard may be leaning toward leaving LA, but Atlanta should have waited another month or so to start using that speculation as a marketing tool.

Chris Paul said to be ‘angry’ with Clippers over Vinny Del Negro reports

Chris Paul ClippersChris Paul is “angry” with the Los Angeles Clippers over the perception that he was responsible for the team getting rid of Vinny Del Negro as head coach, ESPN reports.

Del Negro was informed by the team last week that they would not retain him despite leading the team to a 56-26 season. Yahoo! Sports, CBS Sports, and the Los Angeles Times all indicated that Paul was dissatisfied with Del Negro and/or wanted a different coach. Team owner Donald Sterling even indicated to the LA Times’ T.J. Simers that Del Negro was let go to increase the team’s chances of retaining Paul, who will be a free agent.

The speculation that Del Negro was let go in order to increase the team’s chance at retaining Paul was prevalent last week after the Del Negro news was announced. The issue came back up this week when Del Negro conducted an interview with Dan Patrick and hinted CP3 had a role in his firing.

All the talk about him costing Del Negro the job supposedly has the all-star point guard upset.

“He’s angry right now and his anger is directed toward the Clippers organization,” a source told ESPN. “Chris is a man of principle and if he feels like you’ve gone against his principles, it will affect how he feels about you. He’s very agitated that his name has been put out there as the reason for Vinny’s firing. He had nothing to do with it.”

ESPN’s source said neither Paul nor Blake Griffin were involved in the decision to dismiss Del Negro. Moreover, the source said the front office decided to make the change on their own after having disagreements with the coach during the season. ESPN also says that Del Negro feels Paul got him fired.

Paul will be a free agent on July 1 and was long believed to be highly likely to re-sign with the Clippers. There is a possibility that this issue over the perception that he was responsible for Del Negro’s dismissal could cause him to sign with another team.

Vinny Del Negro hints Chris Paul’s free agency had role in him losing job

Vinny Del NegroVinny Del Negro was not brought back as head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers after three mostly successful seasons with the franchise. Multiple reports and the comments of team owner Donald Sterling have indicated the Clippers decided not to bring back Del Negro because they felt hiring a new coach would give them the best shot at retaining Chris Paul, who is a free agent.

During an interview on “The Dan Patrick Show” on Tuesday, Del Negro was asked point blank about how much of a role he thought CP3’s free agency played in the Clippers not bringing him back. Del Negro seemed to subtly admit Paul wanted a new coach while boasting about what the point guard accomplished under his watch.

“Well, Chris is a free agent. They were compelled to make a decision. He’s entitled to his opinion. But he made first-team All-NBA both seasons on defense and on offense, and I believe that’s the first time he’s done that in his career. We set every franchise record. In saying that, he’s a free agent and he’s going to have a lot of say so on a lot of things as he did the previous summer when we put the team together,” said Del Negro.

Patrick turned it up a notch and asked Del Negro about CP3 more directly.

“Do you think Chris Paul did not want you back?” he asked.

“Oh I don’t know. I don’t think I need to get into that. It’s behind me,” Del negro answered.

Del Negro then complimented the job he and his staff did with the team.

“They’re positioned for success in the future. There’s no question you have to have a long-term view. They were compelled to make a decision that they felt was in the best interest of their team. However it went down it doesn’t matter.

“Obviously the Clippers’ history is the Clippers’ history, but I’m proud of what we did there the last few seasons. They’re positioned to be successful for a long time now, which I’m proud of. I give my staff and all my assistant coaches a tremendous amount of credit.”

It seems to me that Del Negro acknowledged the situation without directly admitting Paul was behind the firing. I agree with the team’s decision not to bring him back, but how can you not at least feel a little betrayed to hear that your star player preferred to have a new coach?