“I Even Brought It Up To Kawhi Leonard” | Doc Rivers Says He Asked Kawhi Leonard About Trading Shai Gilgeous-Alexander For Paul George 

Milwaukee Bucks head coach Doc Rivers has been in the news quite a bit since he stepped in to lead the Bucks following the firing of first-year head coach Adrian Griffin, who had led the Bucks to a 30-13 record and second place in the Eastern Conference.

In Rivers’ ten games at the helm, the Bucks are 3-7 as they head into their first game post All-Star break tonight versus the Western Conference’s top-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves.

While things in Milwaukee haven’t gone as planned thus far with Rivers at the controls, the one-time NBA champion coach is coming under fire for some comments made about his time as the head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Rivers was called out this week by ESPN NBA analyst J.J. Redick, a former Clippers player, for throwing his teams and players under the bus, and not taking accountability for his team’s shortcomings. 

Rivers Says Leonard Played Role In Trading SGA

In ESPN’s Tim MacMahon’s piece on who won the trade that sent Paul George from the OKC Thunder to the Clippers in return for rising Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Rivers sounded as if he did all he could to avoid trading SGA because he knew he’d be special.

In the same breath he makes it seem as if Leonard ultimately made the decision on what the team should do to have him sign as a free agent in 2020. 

“I even brought it up to Kawhi (Leonard): Are you sure?. I think Shai’s going to be an amazing player. It may take a year or two, but I think you’re underestimating how good Shai’s going to be.’

“I didn’t argue the decision or anything, but I just brought it up, I just thought, is there any way without putting Shai in it?” 

“If you did everything whatever amount of year later, you would never do that deal. You just wouldn’t. But who had a crystal ball.”

With the Clippers underachieving during Doc’s time as head coach, and still having not reached their full potential even with Ty Lue now in the lead seat, Rivers is reflecting on what might have been if the Clips had decided to keep SGA.

It likely means they wouldn’t have landed Kawhi Leonard that offseason. It also means SGA would quite possibly be the Clips’ franchise player right now, not starring and leading a rising Thunder squad that seems poised to be in championship contention for a while.

Thunder Landed Diamond In The Rough Along With SGA

Unless the Clippers win the title this trade looks like a loss for them with SGA blossoming into a superstar while averaging (31/6/7 per game) and a league-leading 39 games with at least 30 points this season.

Second-year wing Jalen Williams who was drafted with one of the five first-round picks received from the trade is growing with him. The former Santa Clara star is averaging 19.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game on 54 percent shooting and 45 percent shooting from the three-point line. 

Add in 2022 No. 2 overall pick Chet Holmgren, and you can see why the future is so bright in OKC. In fact, things haven’t been this bright since KD, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden popped on the scene beginning in 2007.

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