The Los Angeles Clippers are coming fresh off the heels of a monumental playoff meltdown that prevented them from advancing to their first ever Western Conference Finals in franchise history. Los Angeles led James Harden and the Houston Rockets 3-1 in their second round series, but were unable to seal the deal as they were dealt a crushing defeat in a Game 7 blowout.
Los Angeles’ heartache reached its zenith in Game 6, as they blew a 19-point 2nd half lead at home with a chance to clinch the series and their first ever WCF appearance. The Rockets ended Game 6 on a 49-18 run, and held the Clippers to 18% shooting in the 4th quarter.
So with their season ending bitterly, Clippers head coach and general manager Doc Rivers is to sit back and make some moves, specifically re-signing starting center DeAndre Jordan and bolstering the Clippers’ flimsy bench.
But according to Fox Sports insider Bill Reiter, Jordan may not be too thrilled about the prospect of returning to Los Angeles due to a certain pushy point guard and his tense ways.
Sources: DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul have had falling out throughout season, a fact that could push Jordan to another team in free agency.
— Bill Reiter (@sportsreiter) May 18, 2015
All season, multiple sources say, a growing schism emerged between Jordan and point guard Chris Paul, and it could contribute to Jordan’s decision to stay or go as a free agent.
Sources say Paul’s well-known edginess and drive ground on Jordan’s nerves for much of the year. Contributing to the problem was Paul’s view that Jordan lacked the appropriate commitment to working on his free throws, including not working enough with the Clippers shooting coach on that issue, sources said.
“Things aren’t good there,” a league source familiar with the inner workings of the Clippers organization said. Asked if the issues between the two were serious, the source said, “Oh yeah. (Jordan) might leave. He really might.”
It’s interesting that Paul’s competitiveness, which he has been celebrated for throughout the duration of his basketball career, may push away one of Los Angeles’ key pieces in their pursuit of a championship. The number of athletic dominant defensive bigs in this league is scarce, so Paul should be phoning Jordan immediately to rectify things to get him back on board with he and the Clippers. Without Jordan, the Clippers can kiss their title hopes goodbye.
Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks are surely delighted by this news, as they’ve been plotting on Jordan for a substantial amount of time. Could Jordan’s issues with Paul and his Texas ties be enough to lure him to Dallas? Cuban, Rivers and other NBA general mangers, will pounce on Jordan as soon as July 1st hits, looking to sign him to a deal quickly and without incident. Word is Jordan is seeking a five-year, $100 million max contract, and it’ll be interesting to see which suitors are willing to offer him such a deal.