NBA free agency rumors: Chris Paul told Clippers he would leave if Doc Rivers wasn't hired


If Doc had stayed in Boston, would CP3 have ended up in Houston?

Another rumor can be thrown into the pile of questionable pieces of evidence that allude to point guard Chris Paul's stronghold on the Los Angeles Clippers and their organizational decision-making. A buried anecdote in Bill Simmons' NBA offseason review claims that Paul pushed for the hiring of former Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers to the point of threatening to leave the team.

If the team didn't find a way to acquire Rivers, Paul said he'd join free-agent center Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets, according to Simmons:

To Chris Paul, who basically told the Clippers that after they squashed the first incarnation of their Doc Rivers trade. Chris didn't like that. He let them know he was heading to Houston to team up with Dwight. And he wasn't kidding. For about 36 hours, Morey probably felt like all 11 guys in Ocean's Eleven. You know what happened next: The Clippers blinked, the Doc trade got revived and finished, and the Clippers were offering Chris 107 million reasons to play for him. Crisis averted. The lesson, as always: Chris Paul runs the Clippers.

Clips Nation: More on the Clippers

This isn't the first time reports have surfaced of Paul making demands to the front office. He reportedly wasn't happy with former Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro, and the threat during the hiring process to replace Del Negro lines up with Los Angeles' front office being willing to do anything and everything to keep their All-Star point guard in town.

The Clippers have, of course, attempted to quiet that rumor but it didn't help owner Donald Sterling didn't deny some players were helping to make decisions. Asked if the players were calling some of the shots, Sterling told Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers the team wanted to keep players happy -- the NBA is dubbed a players' league, after all.

True or not, it was no doubt a benefit for the Clippers to find a way to let Del Negro walk and then acquire Rivers despite several failed discussions with Boston, which had to release the coach from his contract. Paul ended up re-signing with Los Angeles on a five-year, $107 million deal before the team made some solid backend moves to acquire J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley, among others.

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