Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers almost quit within the first few days of him joining the team. Rivers is one of the most respected coaches in the league and to hear this recent story about how he wanted to walk away from the job is mind-boggling.
Today we will look at the reasons why he wanted to leave so soon and what we can expect from the new-look Clippers this year.
Why did Doc Rivers quit?
When speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Rivers explained his reasoning for leaving the team. After Los Angeles had already agreed to a sign sharpshooter JJ Redick, team owner Donald Sterling didn’t want to do the deal.
Here’s what Rivers had to say about the whole scenario: “I was on the job for six days and I quit…The deal went through and everyone said it was a great deal. I flew back home to Orlando for a couple of days and I got a call from Andy Roeser saying Donald Sterling decided he didn’t want to do the deal. I said, ‘What do you mean? The deal is already done. JJ is a free agent. He backed out of a deal to sign with us. If we don’t do this deal we’ll never get another free agent. It’s our word…Finally at the end of it I said, ‘If you don’t do the trade, I quit.’ He said, ‘You can’t quit, you signed a five-year deal, I’ll make sure you don’t coach anywhere!’ I said, ‘I’m fine with that. I’ll find a job…”
This is just one of the chaotic scenarios anyone in the Clippers front office had to deal with when encountering former owner Donald Sterling. Had the team backed out of the deal with Reddick after he turned down money to play elsewhere it would’ve been significantly harder for the team to land any other free agents because of the lack of trust they would have from players.
Doc Rivers coaching career
Before landing in Los Angeles, Doc Rivers was head coach of the Orlando Magic and the Boston Celtics. During his 4+ seasons with the Magic the team made the playoffs three consecutive seasons. He was fired in 2003 after a 1-10 start to the season.
He eventually landed with the Boston Celtics and slowly started the team’s rebuild. When they made the trade for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in the 2007 off-season, they quickly became the best team in the league and secured Rivers only NBA championship.
Since arriving in Los Angeles in 2013, the Clippers have made the playoffs in five of his six seasons. They were the No. 8 seed last year after winning 48 games, but pushed the Golden State Warriors to six before ultimately falling.
Landing two superstars
While the Brooklyn Nets were able to land Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant could the real winners of the 2019 off-season be the Los Angeles Clippers? All season long it was a rumor that Kawhi Leonard was heading back to Los Angeles but for him to also bring Paul George with him gives Los Angeles the two best perimeter defenders in the NBA to team with Patrick Beverley.
This move gives the team arguably two of the three top players in the entire league. The Clippers and Lakers will not only fight for supremacy in Los Angeles but for supremacy in the entire league as well.
Leonard showed how valuable he can be by bringing Toronto it’s only NBA championship in one season, so it’s clear to us that the Clippers should be the favorite to win the championship after upgrading without gutting their roster. With the team’s current roster, Doc Rivers is probably happy he didn’t have to quit.