Clippers Don’t Respect Paul George, Doc Rivers Got Fired For It

Clippers Don’t Respect Paul George, Doc Rivers Got Fired For It

Paul George’s Los Angeles Clippers teammates don’t hold him in particularly high regard. The lack of respect towards the 30-year-old has been apparent for a while now, but up until recently it went ignored.

Now it is front and center – and it is one of the things that cost Doc Rivers his job.

Shortly after Clippers owner Steve Ballmer forced Rivers out on Monday, details surrounding the decision began to emerge.

Ryen Russillo of The Ringer divulged the first juicy nugget.

“This surprised Doc,” he tweeted out.

“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.”

That last bit, “PG doesn’t have the respect of his teammates,” is telling. It fits perfectly alongside other stories that have come from the Clippers’ locker room over the past few weeks.

The most notable one is obviously George’s beef with Montrezl Harrell. The two got into it during Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinals showdown against the Denver Nuggets.

Prior to their blow-up, George committed his second turnover of the quarter when he threw a bad pass to Harrell. When Harrell pointed out to George that the turnover was actually his fault, George did not own up to it.

At that point, Harrell said something along the lines of, “You’re always right. Nobody can tell you nothing.”

This was not an isolated incident.

Following the Clippers’ stunning elimination from the postseason at the hands of the Nuggets, George attempted to give his teammates a big speech in the locker room. Essentially, he urged them to stay committed to the organization and come back ready for a title run the following year.

The spiel was met with “eye rolls and bewilderment” from George’s teammates because, frankly, they don’t see him as that guy.

Chris Broussard of Fox Sports reported something similar.

“I’ve been told some of the Clippers role players actually think they’re as good as Paul George,” he said last week.

“They’re having problems [with] the special treatment he’s gotten from Doc Rivers. They can handle Kawhi getting special treatment [because] for the most part he delivered.”

Even Kawhi Leonard’s trainer doesn’t respect George and what he brings to the table.

“PG basketball IQ questionable man,” he tweeted recently.

All of these incidents point to a troubling issue in regards to how George’s teammates view him.

Which brings us to Rivers’ firing.

Obviously, the 58-year-old’s own shortcomings played a role in his termination. Rivers went 27-32 in the postseason with the Clippers and blew a pair of 3-1 leads in LA – one in 2015 and one this year. His perplexing underutilization of Ivica Zubac in the Nuggets series was maddening, too.

But everyone expected that Rivers’ game planning would be subpar.

What he was and is really known for is being able to lead players. His failure to do that with this Clippers group is the byproduct of the unfixable chemistry issues in the locker room – and a lot of those stemmed from how George rubbed his teammates the wrong way.

“The organization ultimately determined that the locker room, as currently constructed, lacked the requisite leadership and mettle to be true a championship team,” The Athletic’s Jovan Buha wrote this week.

“Rivers, in the undeniably difficult position of juggling multiple egos and sensitive personalities, never struck the necessary balance in the locker room. It’s telling that, as of this writing, no Clipper player has publicly thanked or defended Rivers on social media after his departure.”

Both in terms of on the court production and off court leadership, George’s first year with the Clippers was a mess.

Although he had an objectively solid first six games against Denver in the second round, George scored 10 points on 4 of 16 shooting in the deciding Game 7. One round earlier, against the Dallas Mavericks, he was largely terrible for most of the series.

Couple that with the turmoil surrounding George in the locker room and suddenly there is a very real case to be made that he is more trouble than he is worth.

At the end of the day, the Clippers are going to give this thing one more go.

Both Leonard and George have the ability to opt out in a year.

If things improve next season and the organization makes it to the NBA Finals, then all this talk will be forgotten.

That said, should next year not be a success, and if the problems from this year repeat themselves, then it is hard to see how George’s reputation ever bounces back from this entire ordeal.

Related: Bryce Harper Already Unhappy With Phillies

Charles Kruger

Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7's go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.

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