The hidden side of politics

Kawhi and Paul George present a second chance for Doc Rivers

Reported by ESPN:

LOS ANGELES — Throughout Kawhi Leonard‘s free agency, we heard and talked a lot about his desire for secrecy and discretion in his negotiations. The three teams involved mostly abided by those wishes, lest they risk losing the two-time NBA Finals MVP over a careless leak or slipup.

But on the night of July 5, before the news broke that Leonard had committed to the LA Clippers — with whom he’d be joined by forward Paul George after the Clippers acquired him in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder — a major breach occurred.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers was at dinner at Nobu, an upscale sushi restaurant in Malibu, with a group of friends. He’d been told to stay close to his phone all night, knowing the deals for George and Leonard were close. But watching his phone for updates was torture and, in Rivers’ mind, possibly a jinx. So he put it out of his mind and tried to enjoy his night.


Finally, the text from Lawrence Frank, the Clippers’ president of basketball operations, came in: “It’s done. Call me as soon as you can.”

Rivers was in a very public setting, but they’re used to protecting celebrities at a place such as Nobu. He stepped outside to call Frank, escorted by a security guard.

“I remember going, like, ‘Yessss!'” Rivers said. “And the security guard was like, ‘I got a feeling I know what that ‘yes’ is about.'”

Rivers looked around to see if anyone else was eyeing him and connecting the dots on why he was so excited. The security guard smiled. Rivers laughed, knowing the security guard had figured out that the Clippers had landed Leonard but not wanting to confirm anything and break the first rule of Kawhi Club.

“And then he was like, ‘Yeah, I’m sure of it,'” Rivers recalled. “I couldn’t even acknowledge him. He was laughing. I was laughing.”

Shortly thereafter, the rest of the NBA world knew why. The Clippers not only landed Leonard; they got George too. That’s two seismic moves that figure to alter the league for years to come.

Rivers called it “a movement” at the introductory media conference the Clippers held for Leonard and George on Wednesday. If the Clippers make good on the enormous promise they have now, it certainly will be a defining moment — or movement — for a franchise that has never won a championship.

But Rivers has been in this place before — the media conference at which everyone is excited about possibilities and potential. He came to Los Angeles in 2013 with a media conference like this as the purported missing piece for the “Lob City” era of the Clippers.

That group — with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan — never bore fruit, which makes this something of a do-over for Rivers.

“I never think you start over,” he said. “I don’t think you get to. I think you go through stuff, and you learn from it and keep going.

“So I view this as another opportunity to win it. And let’s be honest: You don’t have a lot of opportunities to actually win it. When you have that, you take advantage of it.”

Rivers said he will go on vacation for a bit before he starts to figure out how to take advantage of the opportunity this group has.

But if there’s one thing he has learned — or one regret from the Lob City era he’d like to make right — it’s impressing a sense of urgency upon this group.

“I never felt like I could get that group [the Lob City group] to understand that this was their time, the urgency of it,” Rivers said. “When we beat Golden State [in the 2013-14 playoffs], that following year, Golden State decided this was their time. I don’t think we decided that. We just showed up and wanted to try to win. But that’s not enough.”

In Boston, where Rivers won a championship in 2008 with Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, the coach got that buy-in and willingness to sacrifice.

“Sometimes you have to be at the right time of a player’s life for them to want to win,” he said. “Everyone says they want to win. It’s B.S. Most people want to win as long as they can do whatever they want to do. Everything has to be perfect for them. But you have to sacrifice something to win. That group [in Boston] understood that. It was time for Ray and Paul and Kevin to win because they’d each had the individual success.”

The only question was how long it would take for that group to come together.

“When we got together everyone said, ‘Well, they won’t win it this year. They’ll win it next year,'” Rivers said. “I remember giving this speech, ‘Next year? Next year we’re older. Next year you could be injured. Next year could be anything. This is your time.'”

It’s too soon to say how this Clippers group will fare. Rivers is still getting to know his two new superstars. Last week, he visited with Leonard and his family at Leonard’s house in northern San Diego County.

“We talked basketball for two hours, three hours. I met some other people that he works with,” Rivers said. “We went over a lot of stuff, especially offensively.

“But I don’t know Kawhi yet. We’re learning each other. The two things that have stood out for so far — and he actually did it again when he was up on stage, where he talked about, ‘It’s not just us two, all 15 have to buy into their role’ — is his understanding of accepting roles.

“The second is how many times he said, ‘You know, you can coach me.’ I don’t know how many times he said this, when we were looking at a play, where he said, ‘Coach, whatever you run, I’m running.’ He kept saying, ‘You know, you can coach me.'”

Rivers hasn’t yet met with George to take his temperature. They were supposed to have dinner this week, but house-hunting and family obligations got in the way. But they will connect and then reconnect all season long, Rivers said.

“You have to build trust with everyone,” he said. “I always use this word: re-trust. You always have to build re-trust with the guys you have. It never stops, the trust thing.”

That’s why it was important to keep things quiet during the free-agency period and start earning Leonard’s trust.

And that’s why Wednesday’s ceremonial introduction felt like a lesson learned, rather than déjà vu.

“It’s a different energy,” Rivers said. “[In 2013], I joined a group. And that group had — had some success and also some baggage.

“This group is new. This is our creation. I feel like that college coach, when you first get the job and you take all the recruits that are there and try to win with them. And then you get your recruits. That’s how I feel. This is our team. … And we feel really good about it.”




  1. ETIAS Reply

    Hey there! I’ve been following your website for some time now and finally got the courage
    to go ahead and give you a shout out from Dallas Texas!

    Just wanted to say keep up the excellent job!

  2. (417) 209-3330 Reply

    Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally,
    it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.
    You definitely know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

  3. pest control for ants Reply

    With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright infringement?
    My site has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it
    appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the web
    without my agreement. Do you know any solutions to help stop content from being ripped off?

    I’d certainly appreciate it.

  4. creare site de prezentare bucuresti Reply

    With havin so much content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright violation? My blog has a lot of unique content
    I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it
    is popping it up all over the web without my agreement.
    Do you know any methods to help stop content from being ripped off?
    I’d truly appreciate it.

  5. pescuit crap Reply

    Whats up this is kinda of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or
    if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledge so I wanted to get advice
    from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  6. creare site web bucuresti Reply

    hello there and thank you for your info – I’ve certainly picked up anything
    new from right here. I did however expertise a few technical points using this website, as
    I experienced to reload the site many times previous to I could get it to load correctly.
    I had been wondering if your web hosting is OK? Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will often affect your placement in google and could damage your high quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords.
    Well I am adding this RSS to my email and could look out for a lot more
    of your respective fascinating content. Make sure you update this again soon.

  7. creare site de prezentare Reply

    This is the perfect blog for anybody who really wants to find out about this topic.
    You understand so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually would want to…HaHa).
    You definitely put a brand new spin on a topic which has been written about for
    a long time. Wonderful stuff, just excellent!

  8. rca online Reply

    Hello I am so glad I found your web site, I really found you by mistake, while I was looking on Aol for something else, Anyways I
    am here now and would just like to say cheers for a remarkable post
    and a all round entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time
    to go through it all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also added in your
    RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the superb work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *