Culver City Observer -

Clippers Make History By Acquiring Coach's Son

First Time Ever In the NBA

 

January 29, 2015

Doc Rivers

By Mitch Chortkoff

Sports Editor

Last week Clippers coach Doc Rivers was considering making a trade that would bring his son, Austin Rivers to the team.

He asked his wife what she thought of the idea.

"Chris has been with me a long time and she said the same thing I was thinking," the coach told me. "If you think it will help the Clippers do it."

The Clippers did it and it was a historic move. Never before in the NBA had a team had a head coach and his son on the same squad.

One year the Denver Nuggets signed Coby Karl to a 10-day contract, but his father, head coach George Karl was away from the team on a medical matter. Coby's contract had expired when George resumed coaching the Nuggets.

Rivers has been pleased all season with the play of his starting five. But he hasn't been pleased with the lack of production from the Clippers' second unit which frequently has sacrificed early leads.

The only consistent scorer on the second unit has been Jamal Crawford, who leads all NBA reserves in scoring with 16 points per game.

"We wanted to shore up some positions on our second unit," said the coach.

A three-way trade was made, Austin Rivers, a 22-year-old guard who's been in the NBA for three years after playing at Duke, was acquired and became Chris Paul's backup when the Clippers released Jordan Farmar the next day.

In the deal the Clippers sent Reggie Bullock to Phoenix and Chris Douglas-Roberts to Boston along with a future second round draft choice.

While some teams, including the Lakers and New York Knicks, are hoping to sign premier free agents this summer the Celtics are taking a different route – collecting future draft picks. They now have an astonishing 26.

Asked if Austin has moved into the Rivers' home, the coach laughed.

"He's looking for an apartment," Doc Rivers said. "He's lived alone the last three years. Do you think he's going to move in with mom and dad?"

Could the Clippers have a problem, having to be careful of what they talk about in the locker room.

"No problem with anything we'd say to Austin," said Clipper star Blake Griffin. "We're grown men. And we don't talk behind anyone's backs."

Austin admitted he didn't play well in his first game as a Clipper, a loss to Cleveland. "I was tentative trying to fit in," he said. "I'm usually aggressive."

But he was better in his second game, a win over Sacramento and he made a spectacular spinning layup in the third game, a victory over Boston on Martin Luther King Day.

Another new Clipper is Dahntay Jones, a 34-year-old 6-foot-6 guard who is also from Duke. He excels on defense.

Coach Rivers welcomes an NBA veteran who accepts his role with the second unit and brings enthusiasm to the team.

"He's quickly made an impression with his new teammates," said Coach Rivers.

There are nine teams competing for the eight Western Conference playoff berths. Phoenix, which missed by one game last season, is currently eighth. Oklahoma City, which got off to a slow start without injured stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, has moved past the .500 mark this week and is expected to crash the top eight.

That means one quality team won't make the playoffs. The Clippers, currently sixth, are aware they'll have to be solid the rest of the way to be included.

Steven Lieberman contributed to this article

 

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