Doc Rivers, coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, will have a tall task on his hands this season. He is going to be in charge of making it work with two new all-stars on his team, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, in addition to a solid core that won 48 games and pushed a healthy Warriors to six games just one season ago.
In order to get Kawhi though, Doc Rivers had to put on a bit of his sales hat. Coming into this offseason there was a lot of noise around Kawhi Leonard and the possibility that he would go to the Los Angeles Clippers, however, Doc had to win him over in their first meeting. Dealing with Kawhi Leonard can be a bit of a task, as he is very reserved, people don’t know a whole lot about him. But Doc thought he had him pretty well figured out. “All the other stuff that people think matters in the recruitment, I don’t think Kawhi wanted to talk about that, and so I didn’t, I talked about winning, and basketball,” Rivers told the LA Times.
“All the other stuff that people think matters in the recruitment, I don’t think Kawhi wanted to talk about that, so I didn’t. I talked about winning and basketball. Kawhi is a serious man, and I think you felt that with him. I think he felt the seriousness of me and how serious I am about winning, and he felt good about that match,” he continued.
Recruiting Kawhi was only half the battle. The Clippers found out very early from Kawhi himself, that if he was to come to the Clippers he wanted to have another all-star player with him. Reports say that he reached out to Kevin Durant, who wasn’t interested. Jimmy Butler was another person who was rumored to join Kawhi, but that ended up not happening as Jimmy decided to go to Miami. But when the Clippers found out they could acquire Paul George, they made it happen.
Then when they had a deal in place, the contacted Kawhi to confirm he was coming, and they pulled the trigger. Doc, Jerry, and Steve got their guys, they all put on their sales hat, their dealmaking pants, and now they’re suited up with two franchise-changing NBA players who they will look to to take them to the next level.