Report: Clippers players took issue with Kawhi Leonard getting special treatment
The Los Angeles Clippers disappointed in the playoffs this year, and they also reportedly had some issues surrounding preferential treatment for superstar Kawhi Leonard.
The Clippers fired Doc Rivers as their head coach following the team’s disappointing loss to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals. They are hiring assistant coach Ty Lue to replace him.
In an article about the hiring of Lue, The Athletic’s Jovan Buha wrote about one of the issues the Clippers had surrounding Leonard. Buha says the preferential treatment Leonard received ruffled the feathers of some players.
Here is what Buha wrote:
Players like Beverley, Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams — Clippers bedrocks before the arrival of Leonard and George — bristled when Leonard was permitted to take games off to manage his body and to live in San Diego, which often led to him being late for team flights, league sources said. The team also allowed Leonard to dictate to Rivers when he could be pulled from games, among other things.
This isn’t the first time Buha has brought up this point. He also reported in January that some Clippers took issue with the superstar treatment Leonard and Paul George received. Interestingly, Patrick Beverley, who was cited by Buha as an example, called the January report “fake news.”
The Clippers had to make numerous concessions in order to convince Leonard to sign with them. They also know he holds the power by being able to leave after just two seasons, so they probably feel they don’t have much leverage to stand up to him. But Leonard also wants to win, and in order to win, he needs to be held accountable. The Clippers may feel Lue will be strong enough to do that with Leonard. After all, Lue successfully did that with LeBron James in Cleveland.