Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said Monday that he doesn’t think the Clippers need any major changes to the nucleus of the team.
“We were a quarter away from the Western [Conference] finals,” Rivers said. “So I don’t think we need to blow this thing up.”
The Clippers have never gotten past the second-round of the playoffs in their 45-year history. After they advanced past the defending champion San Antonio Spurs in the first round, and then went on to take a 3-1 series lead over the Houston Rockets in the second round, it seemed as though this was the year the Clippers were going to break through.
They then lost three games in a row to allow the Rockets to become just the ninth team in NBA history to recover from a 3-1 series deficit to advance to the next round.
Rivers made it clear that he wants to re-sign Clippers’ center DeAndre Jordan, who becomes an unrestricted free agent in July. When asked if the Clippers will offer Jordan a maximum contract, he pretty much said yes.
“Yeah, I think I can say that, but I don’t know if I can say that,” Rivers said.
Jordan averaged season highs in 2014-15 in points (11.5), field goal percentage (71%), and rebounds (15).
“There’s going to be a lot of teams [coming after him] and if they’re not, there are a lot of dumb teams out there,” Rivers said.
The coach also said that he’d like to re-sign his son, Austin Rivers, who also becomes an unrestricted free agent in July. The reserve guard averaged 7.1 points on 42.7% shooting and 1.7 assists in 19.3 minutes a game. He also had a couple of huge games, including a 25-point performance on 10-for-13 shooting in Game 3 against the Rockets in the second-round of the playoffs.
“He’s young and he clearly helped us, I think we all have to agree with that,” Rivers said. “And I think he loved it here. I even think he liked the coach at times.”
But since he’s your kid, will that pitch be hard?
Said Rivers: “No, it will be easy, his will be the easiest. I’ll call his mom. When I’m making the plea to D.J. and those guys, I don’t have that access.”
Rivers acknowledged that he needs to upgrade the team’s bench, and figure out how to better use Spencer Hawes. He declined to comment on whether the Clippers will use their team option on Jamal Crawford.
“I’m not talking about any of that,” Rivers said. “It’s the day after a loss.”
Rivers, who is also the Clippers president of basketball operations, joked that at least it will be helpful that the coach and the front office will be on the same page.
“When you’re on the same page, you have a chance,” he said.
But doesn’t the emotional attachment aspect get tricky, since you know your players so well as a coach?
Said Rivers: “There’s an emotional attachment to winning, too.”