The Los Angeles Clippers had big expectations entering the 2019/20 season after landing two of the best two-way players in the league, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. As soon as they landed in Los Angeles, the duo placed the Clips as one of the biggest favorites to win the NBA championship in this campaign.
As we all know now, they couldn't get the job done and collapsed against the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the playoffs, blowing a 3-1 lead in the process.
Doc Rivers was fired as the team's head coach in recent hours and that doesn't seem to be the only major chance the team will do in the offseason. Following Rivers' departure from the team, Ryen Russillo reported the veteran head coach was ok with the decision the team made but made it clear that the Clippers are a bigger disaster than we saw before and during the bubble.
"This surprised Doc. From what I’m told he thought he was ok. But this locker room was an even bigger mess than I think we realized. Kawhi has never had to be a vocal leader and PG doesn’t have the respect of his teammates." Russillo tweeted.
A couple of days ago, it was reported that Paul George didn't have the respect of his teammates; he was reportedly met with roll-eyes when he tried to convince them to remain committed to the team and give it another run next year.
This isn't something new, though; back in January, it was reported that the Clippers had problems inside the locker room, precisely because of Leonard and George. Some of the teammates didn't feel the practices sessions were as hard or as serious as they believed they should, starting to create some trouble in the locker room. Moreover, the special treatment Leonard and PG received from Rivers also played a big role in the Clippers' disastrous season.
“Off the court, sources say there are some teammates who have struggled with the organization’s preferential treatment that is afforded to Leonard and George.”
“I think it boils down to Kawhi not talking, and so who is their true leader?” one source with knowledge of the Clippers’ dynamics said. “How do you get around that?”
He isn’t necessarily standoffish, sources say, and there are times when he lives up to that “Fun Guy” reputation that has become part of his one-of-a-kind profile — even more so recently as he’s grown more comfortable around his teammates. He’s certainly more talkative and playful behind the scenes than in front of the media, when he rarely says a word outside of the scrum of reporters who speak to him, on average, for a few minutes at a time. But there can be a tangible distance, sources say.
Multiple players, according to league sources, don’t feel the team practices as hard or as seriously as it should at this point in the season.
The picture didn't even look good for them in January and as the months went by, we only confirmed that this team didn't mesh well and that some major changes need to take place in the offseason. It remains to be seen what the team's front office is going to do after parting ways with Doc Rivers. They have to decide what players stay and what players leave.