Chris Paul, who during the last six years playing for the Clippers avoided any controversial statements because he seemed more interested in preserving his image, has taken a shot at his former team by saying he was disappointed in its culture.
In a three-part series on ESPN, Paul, who forced a trade to Houston this past summer, also talked about the Clippers not doing enough to beat the Golden State Warriors.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers disagreed with Paul.
“Listen, when you leave, you should just leave,” Rivers said. “I don’t think you have to try to burn the house down to justify why you left. That’s what I would say to it. I like our culture. I didn’t think our culture was as good as it should have been last year because we had guys thinking about leaving. And when you have that, I’ve always believed either you’re in or you’re out. If you’re thinking about being out, you’re probably out. And it manifested itself last year.
“Chris was great for us. He did a lot of great things. I thought we were always trying to beat Golden State. We were the last team to beat them when you think about it in the West. Then we had a chance to beat Oklahoma. I don’t think that was culture. That was just we discombobulated as a team, and we did it a couple of times. But overall, I liked our run. We just weren’t good enough, at the end of the day, and that happens.”
The Clippers did beat the Warriors in the first round of the 2014 playoffs and lost in the next round to the Thunder when Paul had a meltdown in the final few seconds of Game 5.
But during his four years playing under Rivers, Paul and the Clippers never got past the second round.
So as he sat taping his interview — with Jay-Z sitting around drinking champagne — he had this to say about the Clippers:
“Like, a lot of people see wins and losses and that stuff like that, but it’s the culture of our team,” Paul said.
Paul went on to say that he told his brother, CJ Paul, to tell the Clippers this:
“I was like, if you ain’t trying to contend with the Warriors, then what are doing? The Warriors haven’t lost in the playoffs. Like, if you’re not trying to contend with them, then what are you doing?”
Brice Johnson said he and his representatives have yet to have any conversations with the Clippers about picking up his third-year option. Johnson, who will earn $1.3 million this season, would make $1.54 million next season. If the Clippers don’t pick up his option, he’ll become a free agent. The deadline is Oct. 31 for the Clippers to make a decision. “We’re just waiting on them,” Johnson said. “I want to be here.”