Rivers Or Garnett: Did Clippers Choose Correctly?
Chris Paul is staying with the Clippers for five more years. Doc Rivers is the new coach and a popular choice.
All is well, or is it?
If it came down to a choice between Rivers and Kevin Garnett, did the Clippers make the right decision?
We won’t know until next season’s playoffs.
Here’s where we are.
There was plenty of media speculation in recent weeks that the Clippers were trying to hire Rivers and acquire Garnett in a blockbuster trade. In fact, the Clippers seemed to be the ones holding out because they didn’t want to send Eric Bledsoe to Boston.
I was wondering about the negotiations because I was pretty sure NBA teams aren’t allowed to trade a player for a coach.
My suspicions were confirmed a few days later when Commissioner David Stern said if the Clippers signed Rivers he would not approve any Celtics-Clippers trade involving Garnett.
The Celtics then traded Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets.
OK, so the Clippers are upbeat today and rightfully so. They’ll have Paul and Blake Griffin for five years and a coach who guided the Celtics to the 2008 NBA championship.
They’ll win a lot of games and draw sellout crowds to Staples Center.
However, I wonder if they made the right choice.
Add Garnett to a lineup that already features Paul and Griffin and you have the potential to win an NBA championship.
Garnett is in the twilight of his career but has a few years left and he’s a terrific competitor as well as a terrific player. Maybe he’d lift the Clippers to the heights they didn’t reach last season.
I think Vinny del Negro did an outstanding job laat season until that unfortunate first round playoff loss to Memphis. The Clippers reacted by firing the coach. Had they kept him and disposed of center DeAndre Jordan, who was badly outplayed by the Grizzlies, they probably could have obtained Garnett.
Now Rivers has the task of getting the Clippers deeper in the playoffs. He says a major project will be improving Griffin and Jordan defensively.
But at playoff time I’d like to go to war with a center of Garnett’s stature.
I’s being said that Rivers’ arrival clinched Paul’s decision to stay with the Clippers instead of testing free agency. But Paul had already decided to stay.
Rivers will have to find a way to make Jordan productive at playoff time. If he can’t, the situation will be exactly like it is now, with the Clippers making an early playoff exit.