The NBA is a different place today after the LA Clippers traded superstar point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets for Sam Dekker, Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, DeAndre Liggins, Darrun Hilliard, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Wiltjer, a top-three protected 2018 first-round pick and $661,000.
The Clippers were forced to make a deal after Paul informed them that he would be declining his player option and leaving the team in free agency.
Sources have told ESPN's Michael Eaves that the relationship between Paul and Clippers coach and team president Doc Rivers began deteriorating once L.A. acquired Austin Rivers -- Doc's son -- during the 2015-16 season.
Eaves broke down the situation in the Clippers locker room on his Facebook page:
"Paul’s relationship with Doc Rivers started to deteriorate rapidly after the Clippers acquired Austin Rivers. Several members of the team felt Austin acted entitled because his dad was both the coach and the President of Basketball Operations. In the view of the tenured players, Austin Rivers never tried to fit in, and when players tried to address the situation with him, he still did not respond the way the core of the team wanted him to. It led to resentment within the locker room, which often played out during games. One of Paul’s biggest contentions with Doc was that Paul, and other players, felt Doc treated Austin more favorably than other players. He would yell at guys for certain things during games and practices, but not get on Austin in the same manner for similar transgressions. But what really solidified Paul’s dissatisfaction with Doc was a proposed trade involving Carmelo Anthony last season. New York offered Carmelo and Sasha Vujacic to the Clippers in exchange for Jamal Crawford, Paul Pierce and Austin Rivers, a deal to which Rivers ultimately said no. That event led Paul to feel that keeping his son on the roster was more important to Doc than improving the team. So, ultimately, Paul lost both trust and faith in Doc. As one league executive put it, “Chris despises Doc.”Austin Rivers, who signed a 3-yr/$35M deal with the Clippers after the 2016 season, addressed the report on Twitter.
These false rumors are comedy...so fictional it's actually amusing! People will say or do anything to get attention. A lot out there— Austin Rivers (@AustinRivers25) June 28, 2017
Do you think Doc Rivers' family favoritism drove Chris Paul to Texas?
Of course, DeAndre Jordan is the big loser in all of this.
When Chris Paul and Blake held you hostage to sign a contract extension then leave you with Austin Rivers and Wesley Johnson 2 years later pic.twitter.com/vsCsCFWXmw— Thank You Pat Bev (@PrimeHoops) June 28, 2017