For the Los Angeles Clippers, the aftermath of blowing a 3-1 series lead against the Houston Rockets and losing in the Western Conference Semifinals, once again, could have a lasting impact on the franchise. Reports emerged Monday that stars Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan had a "falling out" during this season.
Bill Reiter of Fox Sports 1 has more:
Reiter added more details on their rocky relationship:
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.'
Clippers teammate Dahntay Jones believes there is no rift between the two, per TMZ Sports: "Those guys are brothers, man. They sit with each other on the plane, on the bus. If you don't like a guy you stay away from him... Everyone here wants DeAndre back. No other center can do what he does for us."
Winning, of course, can normally help teams overcome any personal disputes or issues. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal didn't exactly see eye-to-eye but managed to win three titles together. But consistently failing to advance past the conference semifinals makes it a bit more difficult to put aside any issues.
With Jordan, 26, hitting free agency this summer, the trio of Paul, Jordan and Blake Griffin could be splitting up.
On Tuesday, Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding broke down whether the falling out would see Jordan leave the team:
Losing Jordan, who averaged 11.5 points, 15.0 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game, would be a huge blow for the Clippers. There aren't many players who offer Jordan's combination of defensive presence and ability to dominate on the boards, while he has also improved his scoring output every season he's been in the league.
When asked if the Clippers will offer him a max contract, head coach Doc Rivers responded, "Yeah, I think I can say that," via ESPN.com's Arash Markazi.
However, Rivers also admitted he doesn't know if Jordan will be back, per Sam Amick of USA Today: "We don't talk about (free agency). DJ loves us, but you've always got to be concerned. DJ would be great. We've got to try to do whatever we can. He's obviously a free agent, and he has earned that right to be free. I don't want to say much on it, but we love him."