“I called Chris and was like, ‘Chris, what’s going on?’” said Rivers. “Chris is like, ‘This is the biggest bulls— I’ve ever seen in my life.’ Chris was just like, ‘This is a joke.’ So I asked him, I’m like, ‘You don’t need to come out and say nothing publicly, I don’t need you to do that. It’s just going to make it even more, now they’re going to drag it out two more days. I’ll take it. I don’t care. I’ve been dealing with this since I was six. I really don’t even care.
“What do I have to do with someone else’s move?” Rivers continued. “Chris wanted to move because he’d been [with the Clippers] for a while. He’s had great years there, but he wanted something new. A lot of players want that. It’s really that simple.”
Paul’s sudden departure for the Houston Rockets last month led to reports that he resented both Rivers and his father, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, over perceived preferential treatment. The elder Rivers had previously shot down those reports, and this should mark the end of that narrative now that it is apparently being refuted directly at the source.
Austin’s father Doc has been the coach of the Clippers the past four seasons and even served in the front office beginning in 2014. He brought in his son, Austin, in 2015 via a trade with Boston.
A report published on Wednesday after Paul was traded to Houston said CP3 became upset with Doc Rivers because he felt the coach gave preferable treatment towards Austin and made a bad decision by not trading his son.
Chris Paul’s departure from the Los Angeles Clippers came as a shock publicly, but if one report is true, it won’t have been a surprise privately.
ESPN’s Michael Eaves shared several alleged reasons that Paul left the Clippers, generally boiling it down to CP3 having a fallout with coach and team president Doc Rivers over the treatment of son Austin Rivers.
According to Eaves, several Clippers, including Paul, felt that Austin Rivers was given preferential treatment by his father, escaped criticism for mistakes where the rest of the team did not, and made no effort to fit in with his teammates as a result. Though veteran players tried to address the situation, Austin Rivers supposedly did not change his behavior, leading to resentment in the locker room.
The last straw, according to Eaves’ source, came last season, when the New York Knicks offered Carmelo Anthony and Sasha Vujacic to the Clippers in exchange for Jamal Crawford, Paul Pierce, and Rivers. Doc Rivers declined the trade, leading to Paul’s perception that the coach and GM was putting his son ahead of improving the team, with one executive stating that the event means Paul “despises” Doc.
Interestingly, former Clipper Glen Davis spoke of this sort of resentment recently, which led to Austin Rivers ripping him publicly. This is now the second time we’ve heard that there is something to it, and it ultimately may have cost the Clippers one of their superstars.
What’s notable is Austin Rivers did have something positive to say about CP3:
Dam….cp3 really dipped, was looking forward to lining up with u next year. Learned a lot from u tho bro. One of the best basketball minds
It’s safe to say Glen “Big Baby” Davis and the Rivers family are not going to be sitting down to a nice dinner together anytime soon.
Davis spent most of his eight-year NBA career playing under Doc Rivers, but they ended up parting ways on bad terms when the big fella left the Los Angeles Clippers. Rivers’ son Austin, who was teammates with Davis in L.A., said things between Davis and his father went south because Big Baby was “constantly out of shape,” late for work and didn’t remember plays.
Here’s what Davis thinks about that:
Glen "Big Baby" Davis responds to Austin Rivers's claim that he didn't remember plays and was constantly out of shape in IG rant pic.twitter.com/EEtuzAQB3x
Austin Rivers is letting his former LA Clippers teammate have it.
In an appearance on FOX Sports 1’s “Undisputed” on Wednesday, Rivers was asked about ex-teammate Glen “Big Baby” Davis’ feud with his father, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, and Davis’ recent comments that the Rivers father-son dynamic had caused resentment in the Clippers locker room.
“That’s a bunch of BS,” said the younger Rivers. “That’s just Baby talking … I’ve heard Baby say to me multiple times, ‘Oh man, you know why Doc is so good, Doc is so great.’ And then now he’s saying bad things about him. It’s a huge contradiction. And I don’t have a problem with Baby, me and Baby have always been cool, but it makes no sense to what he’s doing.
“Whatever he has between him and my pops, and you know Pops said the jokes about his weight and stuff like that,” continued the Clippers guard. “But let me ask you something. If someone is constantly out of shape, late, don’t remember plays, how the hell are you supposed to play? I don’t know where that even goes with the team. And that has nothing to do with him coming at my father. I really don’t care, that’s between him and my pops.
“But as far as him talking about me being my coach’s [son], that’s never had a play on the team,” Rivers said. “I’ve earned every stripe I’ve gotten, earned every playing time. That’s just him talking out the side of his neck. I don’t even understand where that comes from, so I’m not even paying that no mind.”
Rivers and Davis were teammates on the Clippers during the 2014-15 season, but Davis played under the elder Rivers in Boston for four seasons prior to that. Davis recently explained his side of the feud with Doc, but he may have started a new one with Austin in the process.
“We’re not talking to anyone; people are talking to us — I guess I can say that,” Rivers said. “Listen, we love our team. We believe we are good enough right now. Having said that, my job is to look at this team and see if we can get better. And if we can, we’ll do it.
“Listen, I would trade anyone,” Rivers continued upon being pressed specifically about the possibility of dealing away Austin. “You have to be willing to do that … and he would be one of them. And any of them would be one. But I don’t want to trade any of our guys. I like our team.”
The heat has been turned up on the elder Rivers recently with all the talk of the Clippers pursuing a trade for disgruntled New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony. The general sentiment is also that they would have to include Austin in any potential deal for Anthony.
The Clippers haven’t had the strongest track record of trades in the Rivers era. They gave away Jared Dudley and a future first-round pick to Milwaukee for nothing in 2014 and their move last trade deadline to surrender another future first for two-plus months of Jeff Green was just objectively bad. Rivers has also been reluctant to trade away certain core players in the recent past.
But this time around is different. The Clippers have their backs against the wall as this may be the last hurrah for their current nucleus. Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, and Blake Griffin can all leave after the season is over, and they simply may not have enough firepower to realistically compete with the likes of the Golden State Warriors right now. As such, Rivers needs to be ready to pull the trigger if/when the right piece, somebody like an Anthony, becomes available, and it sounds like he is.
The potential arrival of Carmelo Anthony in Los Angeles is likely to come at the expense of the Rivers family.
According to Dan Woike of the Orange County Register, guard Austin Rivers, who is the son of head coach Doc Rivers and whom the New York Knicks pursued in free agency last summer, will “almost certainly” be included if the Los Angeles Clippers trade for Anthony.
Trade would almost certainly include Austin Rivers, who the Knicks liked in free agency this summer. https://t.co/I0gqpGmVRH
The 24-year-old Rivers is one of the precious few young assets the Clippers have remanining on their roster. They already dealt away many of their future first-round picks, and the ones they have left are likely to fall in the less desirable mid-to-low 20s range.
Rivers is averaging 11.9 points on 44.9 percent shooting (both career-highs) to go with 2.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game in 2016-17 and has proven to be a very capable NBA rotation guard. But an Anthony return package centered around him is severely underwhelming. The Clippers would also likely have to attach Jamal Crawford (in Year 1 of a three-year, $42 million deal), Wesley Johnson (also Year 1 of a three-year, $18 million deal), or J.J. Redick (making $7.38 million in the final year of his deal) just for the salaries to match up.
Such is life with the Clippers unwilling to part with any of their Big Three of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan. Still, the Knicks seem willing to work around that, so there may be at least some smoke to these rumors.