Report: Doc Rivers had key philosophical differences with Clippers’ ownership
The Los Angeles Clippers deciding to part ways with coach Doc Rivers came as a shock, but there were apparently clear internal issues within the organization.
At ownership level, the Clippers were frustrated with Rivers’ reliance on veterans and his refusal to put more faith in the team’s young talent, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. This was encapsulated in the playoffs, when Rivers continued to rely on center Montrezl Harrell instead of Ivica Zubac. The Clippers had a minus-11.6 net rating with Harrell on the floor during the playoffs, while it increased to plus-17.7 with Zubac in the game. Despite this, Harrell continued to get 18.7 minutes per game during the postseason.
The Clippers were also concerned about the lack of chemistry and “joy” that the players demonstrated playing together. The organization felt that leadership was lacking in the locker room, and the team could be too slow to make adjustments. In addition to the collapse against the Denver Nuggets, the organization found it nearly as embarrassing that the Clippers were pushed to six games by a Dallas Mavericks team that didn’t have its top two players — Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic — healthy for most of the series.
Chemistry issues came up repeatedly. It’s not the first time, either. Players cited it as an issue after the playoff elimination. Earlier in the season, there was talk that Paul George and Kawhi Leonard were getting superstar treatment that bothered other players. Rivers seemingly never found the right balance. In the end, it looks like it cost him his job.