Doc Rivers Reveals Details of Chris Paul Trade, Says Clippers Needed Shake-Up

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 12, 2017

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers looks on during the second half in Game 6 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz Friday, April 28, 2017, in Salt Lake City. Clippers won 98-93. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Los Angeles Clippers head coach and president Doc Rivers discussed the decision to trade point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets in an interview with ESPN's The Undefeated on Wednesday.

When asked by The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears if a big move was needed in order to shake up the roster, Rivers responded affirmatively:  

"Yeah. I said that after the season. I said after last season, 'I don't know how we are going to be, but we are not going to be the same team.' And we are not. We've won a lot of games. The one thing with Chris, Blake [Griffin], D.J. [DeAndre Jordan], over the last four years, we've had the fourth-best record in the NBA.

"We've had ample opportunities. ... We've had some self-inflicted wounds on our own. But as far as being a good, solid basketball team, I don't think we should be ashamed about anything except for not winning it. And that was the ultimate goal."

Rather than allowing CP3 to walk in free agency and losing him for nothing, the Clips traded him to Houston in exchange for a package that included Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell and a first-round pick.

Rivers discussed how the situation came to be and what led to the decision to trade Paul:

"We met with him, but he didn't tell us [he was leaving]. We just met with him and then his agent told us. Listen, it wasn't like it was hard to figure it out. ... We met. We had a very good meeting overall. The main reason he left was because of [Rockets guard] James Harden. He went down the road with this team and it didn't work. He wanted to try it with another team. Contractually, it was going to be close enough."

After the Paul trade, L.A. then acquired forward Danilo Gallinari from the Denver Nuggets in a three-team deal.

While Paul was the face of the franchise during his time with the Clippers, Rivers expressed his belief that they still have a strong team that may now be more versatile than it was previously:

"Losing Chris is tough, because he is a great player. But we have a lot of great players on our team that play so many different ways. That is why Gallo is so important to us because, our thought was that if you're not going to run a point guard-dominated offense, then you got to run a movement offense with versatility. And I think we've accomplished that."

Although Griffin and Jordan are returning in 2017-18, the Clippers have a far different roster thanks to the arrival of Gallinari and all the depth acquired in the Paul trade.

Los Angeles has made six straight trips to the playoffs with the past four under Rivers.

The Clippers have also won 50 or more games in five consecutive years, but they have been unable to get past the second round of the playoffs.