Paul George is officially engaged.
The Los Angeles Clippers forward got engaged to his girlfriend Daniela Rajic on Friday. The two shared some photos on their Instagram Stories of the proposal.
Based on Rajic’s Instagram, George and Rajic headed to Mexico on a private plane for a vacation. Upon arriving, Rajic appeared to be surprised that a few of her friends were also there.
George proposed with some flower pedals spread around the outdoor deck and floor. A Mariachi band was around to play music as part of the celebration.
Paul and Rajic have been involved since at least 2014, which is when she served him with a paternity suit. The two have two children together.
Rajic actually came up as part of a beef between George and Damian Lillard during the NBA season in August (full story here).
George, 30, just completed his 10th season in the NBA and first with the Clippers. He averaged 21.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game last season.
Shaquille O’Neal thinks the Los Angeles Clippers need to make a big move this offseason.
Shaq was talking on his “The big podcast with Shaq” for an episode published on Wednesday. In the episode, the hosts talked about the Clippers, and that’s when Shaq shared his thoughts.
“They have to get rid of someone,” Shaq said, referring to Paul George.
“You gotta use [George] to get two good, solid players. Because I need Kawhi to be the man. I don’t want Kawhi to delegate. When Kawhi was with Toronto, he knew he was the man, everybody knew he was the man. Now you got one guy that thinks he’s the man, one guy that is the man. They got a guy coming off the bench that knows he’s the man.
“It may look good in certain games, but when you need to slow the game down and do certain things, it never works.”
The Clippers traded Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and half a dozen draft picks to get George from the Thunder and convince Kawhi to sign with them. Leonard wanted to play with George. It’s on them to make it work, especially after they handpicked the pairing.
The Clippers already made one big move this offseason. It would be a massive shock to see them follow Shaq’s advice.
How does a team that began the season with championship aspirations find themselves listening to Paul George preach about loyalty after a catastrophic second-round defeat? The answer is because that team is the Los Angeles Clippers.
Since the Clippers’ arrival in Los Angeles, they have effectively filled the role of little brother to the iconic Los Angeles Lakers. Following the Clippers’ most recent postseason blunder, the Lakers now possess a prime opportunity to capture their record-tying 17th NBA championship, while their crosstown rivals have still yet to crack the code on advancing to the Western Conference Finals.
After acquiring Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers were supposed to finally exorcise the playoff demons that have haunted the franchise. Instead, the duo of All-Stars co-authored arguably the most painful playoff series loss in the franchise’s extensive history of painful playoff losses.
The team has already made a big move by firing Doc Rivers as head coach. Now they will look to maximize their potential next season.
But before the Clippers can move forward and set their sights to next season, they must revisit the events that transpired this year.
When they try to examine what went wrong, they must discover what is to blame. Here is our look at the culprits most at fault for the Clippers’ devastating series loss to the Denver Nuggets.
Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer was the one who made the decision to part ways with head coach Doc Rivers this week, but he did not make the move without first talking to his star players.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Ohm Youngmisuk shared some details on Tuesday from the days leading up to the divorce between Rivers and the Clippers. Ballmer and Rivers had multiple phone conversations over the course of more than a week following L.A.’s collapse against the Denver Nuggets, and Ballmer was left wondering if the franchise needed a new voice. Before he made a final decision, he spoke with president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank and team consultant Jerry West. Ballmer also reportedly sought opinions from several players, including Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
It’s unclear if Leonard and/or George vouched for Rivers, but Shelburne and Youngmisuk were told that nothing either play said changed Ballmer’s mind.
Ballmer bought the Clippers in 2014 and admitted he knew very little about running an NBA team at the time. He vowed to take his time and learn about the organization before making any major changes, but those close to him felt it was a matter of time before he put his stamp on the franchise.
The Clippers twice blew 3-1 leads in playoff series under Rivers. The collapse against Denver in Orlando was troubling enough, but the remarks made by Rivers and Clippers players after the series are likely what cost the coach his job.
George and Lou Williams pointed to chemistry as an issue for the Clippers. George also made some head-scratching comments about the team not having a championship-or-bust mentality despite their huge offseason moves.
Rivers made some strategic decisions in the postseason that reportedly left players scratching their heads, but the chemistry issues were likely far more of a concern for Ballmer. Time will tell if the decision to fire Rivers was the right one. We have already heard of some big-name candidates who could potentially replace him.
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Paul George made some remarks after the Los Angeles Clippers’ brutal meltdown against the Denver Nuggets that were not well-received by fans or the media, and it sounds like the same was true in his own locker room.
George addressed the Clippers in the locker room following their Game 7 loss to the Nuggets last week. He spoke about remaining committed in the coming months and refocusing for a championship run next season. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the comments were “met by some eye rolls and bewilderment.” One of the reasons for that is that George played poorly in the series against Denver. He completely disappeared in Game 7, scoring just 10 points on 4-of-16 shooting and 2-of-11 from three-point range.
Charania also noted that George had multiple verbal spats with teammates during the postseason, as Clippers players reportedly felt he was not holding himself accountable.
The Clippers gave up several draft picks to acquire George in a trade last offseason. They should have been thinking about immediately contending for a championship after trading for George and signing Kawhi Leonard. However, George said after the Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead against Denver that he and his teammates did not have a championship-or-bust mentality this year.
George also indicated that the Clippers had some chemistry issues, and it certainly sounds like he was at the center of some of those.
George got off to a slow start in Orlando before opening up about the mental struggles he experienced in the bubble. He then began to play better, but he had a couple of terrible games against Denver. One of them was in Game 7, and his recent elimination game stats show that has become a theme.
The picture that is forming of the Los Angeles Clippers’ internal chemistry after their playoff collapse is not a pretty one.
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Paul George and Montrezl Harrell got into a verbal confrontation during a timeout in Game 2 that saw Harrell call out George. It was a key incident that demonstrated that Clippers players were never quite on the same page.
George committed two turnovers in less than a minute in that game. The second was a careless half-court pass to Harrell, who was surrounded in the paint. On the way to the huddle during a timeout, Harrell approached George about the pass, but George blamed Harrell and said the pass could have been caught had the big man made the right play.
That infuriated Harrell, who called out George by saying something similar to “you’re always right. Nobody can tell you nothing.” A heated argument followed with both players using expletives, and Harrell did not calm down even after George backed off a bit.
George in particular seemed to respond to the Clippers’ predicament differently than many of his teammates. His comments after Game 7 were, according to Haynes, not shared by the rest of the Clippers. George also continued his brutal record in elimination games with a 10-point performance in the decisive Game 7.
Perhaps things will be better for the Clippers in year two of the George-Kawhi Leonard era. Maybe they’ll have addressed the issues that need to be fixed. It’s a big worry, however, and it’s far from the only issue this team faces.
Paul George had one of his worst games of the postseason when the Los Angeles Clippers were eliminated by the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night. Going ice cold in an elimination game is never ideal, but unfortunately it’s something George has grown accustomed to.
George scored just 10 points on 4-of-16 shooting. He was 2-of-10 from three-point range. As ESPN’s Royce Young noted, George has not played well at all in the last five games in which his team was facing elimination.
George was extremely open about the mental struggles he went through early in the playoffs this year, which led to less-than-stellar play. He appeared to turn things around at one point, but he shot less than 40 percent from the field overall in the postseason. That is one of the reasons the Clippers fell so far short of expectations.
Between his recent track record in elimination games and the comments he made after the Clippers’ loss, fans in L.A. have to be concerned about George’s ability to help them win a title.
Paul George’s quote after the Los Angeles Clippers lost Game 7 of their Western Conference semifinals series on Tuesday night should be alarming to fans.
George shot terribly and was just 4-for-16 in the Clippers’ 114-89 loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 7. The Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead and multiple large leads in closeout games before rolling over in the fourth quarter on Tuesday.
The team never seemed to have urgency during the regular season or in the series against Denver, and that was reflected in George’s attitude.
“I think internally, we always felt this is not a championship-or-bust year for us,” George said after the game. “We can only get better the longer we stay together, the more we’re around each other. The more chemistry for this group, the better. We just didn’t have enough time together.”
That is a major issue.
This team was put together with the intention of winning a championship. The Clippers gave up loads of players and draft picks to get George from Oklahoma City and convince Kawhi Leonard to sign with them. They built a nice supporting cast as well. To see them go out in the conference semifinals and then say they didn’t have a championship-or-bust mentality is a problem.
The Clippers shouldn’t be taking anything for granted or acting like there will be plenty of other opportunities. That is how teams end up surpassing you.
But in hindsight, the lack of urgency existed all along. The Clippers had players missing regular season games throughout the year, then had players in and out of the bubble, and George went through some early playoff struggles. They need that championship mentality for next season. Their players also seem to recognize they have something else they need to fix.
Lou Williams and Paul George both pointed to the team’s chemistry as an issue for the Los Angeles Clippers in their early playoff loss this season.
The Clippers lost 104-89 to the Denver Nuggets in Game 7 of their Western Conference semifinals series on Tuesday night. The Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead and choked in the fourth quarter with just 15 points in Game 7.
The disappointing Game 7 and season left the Clippers answering questions after the loss. The team’s lack of chemistry was a major talking point.
“We came up short. We did have championship expectations. We had the talent to do it. I don’t think we had the chemistry to do it and it showed,” Williams said after the game. “We had lapses on defense and on offense. I think guys have played in systems where they were expecting guys to be in certain spots offensively. A lot of different guys made adjustments. It showed. But at the end of the day we were up 3-1 … we should have closed this deal out. You give credit to Denver. We take our lumps and keep moving.”
George pointed to the same issue.
“First year together … we can’t even say we want to change our roster; we like what we got. We’ve been saying it all year: just chemistry, being together. The more we’re together, the better we will be. It’s year one, year one. We’ve got a lot to reflect on.”
Head coach Doc Rivers brought up the team’s lack of continuity.
Kawhi Leonard mentioned the chemistry too:
The Clippers had their two star players join the team over the summer. The Kawhi Leonard and Paul George took turns missing games in the regular season. Other players missed games too. Then you had players in and out of the Orlando Bubble at times too, including one who got punished.
None of that stopped the Clippers from building a 3-1 series lead against Denver, but when the going get tough, it may have kept them from powering through.
The pressure is growing on the Los Angeles Clippers after another blown lead in Game 6, but Paul George is insisting that the mood is good.
The Clippers blew a 19-point second half lead, the second straight game they blew a huge lead in a closeout game. It means they will go to Game 7 against the Denver Nuggets, and given the circumstances, the pressure on the team to avoid a historic collapse will be huge.
According to George, the team’s mood is positive, and there’s no panic despite the nature of the back-to-back losses.
The Clippers can still win Game 7 and essentially put this in the past. George is saying all the right things with that in mind. If they don’t, though, they will never live this down. They led by 16 in Game 5 and 19 in Game 6 and did not win either. This is a team built to win a title now. If they don’t — especially in this fashion — it will go down as one of the NBA’s more infamous playoff collapses.
George scored 33 points in the Game 6 loss, but was a -23. He’ll need to step up his all-around game like he did earlier in the series to push the Clippers past Denver in Game 7.