Doc Rivers was asked how difficult it was to build a team into a champion without that team having a foundation of winning behind it.
“There’s none. You can say, it’s OK,” Rivers said of the lack of tradition. “It doesn’t hurt us – It’s the truth. We’ve decided not to run from the truth. I came from a a decorated (Celtics) to an undecorated. And that’s what we want to try to forge ahead, to have some decorations.
“It’s different. You don’t have the Bill Russells to call and talk to the team. You don’t have that history. We have to forge our own. That makes it more difficult obviously, but if you can succeed, I think the feeling of success will be great.”
Doc Rivers confirmed before Tuesday’s game that the deal that brought J.J. Redick and sent Eric Bledsoe to Phoenix was nearly scuttled by Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
The three-way deal was Rivers’ first move as Clippers executive vice president and was completed before teams could officially announce personnel moves. Rivers reportedly had a second meeting with Sterling to convince the owner of the move, and it never reached the point where Rivers might resign over the decision.
The story was reported by Yahoo Sports.
“Well, I didn’t read the article but I’ve heard about it, let me just put it that way,” Rivers said. “The facts from what I hear are true. Having said that, the deal got done.
“I think that happens all the time, more than you know. A deal was done, someone gets cold feet. Unfortunately during the moratorium, which is the worst time, if you do a deal with 10 days left, there’s a chance that something can go wrong and it almost did. But fortunately for us it didn’t.”
Guard Darren Collison, father of newborn son Kinston, said at the shootaround that his banged knee won’t prevent him from playing against the Lakers in tonight’s opener at Staples Center.
Projected starting lineup: F Blake Griffin, F Jared Dudley, C DeAndre Jordan, G J.J. Redick, G Chris Paul
Did Donald Sterling attempt to step in on Doc Rivers’ recruiting mission?
On the eve of the 2013-14 NBA season, Clippers guard Chris Paul apparently could not be more ready.
His free-agent deal behind him and with new coach Doc Rivers hauling in some extra talent in the offseason, Paul was asked if this could be the best team he’s ever been a part of. Excepting, of course, the U.S. Olympic team.
“No question,” Paul said. “I think we definitely have the tools. The season should be a lot of fun.”
First things first, and it gets underway Tuesday night at Staples Center on the Lakers’ court (and under the Lakers’ banners and retired jerseys.
This might be the Clippers’ year to contend for a title, but they’re not about to overlook the Lakers in the second year of the Mike D’Antoni regime, even if they will be without Kobe Bryant at the outset of the campaign.
“Coach D’Antoni has those guys runninm, playing fast, everything is probably centered around Pau (Gasol) as it should be right now,” Paul said. “It’s going to be a big test.”
The Lakers have added former Clippers center Chris Kaman to their mix and that is a red flag in itself. And the Clippers aren’t buying into the notion of their crosstown rivals as being less than a playoff team.
“They have a lot of size, size is something that hurt us last year,” Rivers said. “It’s going to be our concern going into it. (Steve) Nash is starting the season healthy,. They’re going to be a good team. I hear all this stuff about how they’re not going to be. I think they’re going to be a good team.”
Paul, too, is wary.
“Kaman can play,” he said. “I don’t know if you guys know that. I know it for a fact, Chris Kaman can really play. So to have those two big guys down there will be a huge test for our bigs and then me – I’m playing against a two-time MVP (Nash), which is a huge test.”
— Ready? Yes and no
Rivers said he and his team are prepared for the start of the season yet there remained a couple of questions he faced. One he couldn’t answer – yet – and the other he was as definitive as he could be.
First, does he have any concerns after training camp?
“You know, I don’t know – and that’s a concern,” he said with a little smile. “Because I don’t know the team yet. I know them as far as I know them over the last month.
“I look at our team and I see our athleticism. We spent a lot of time in preseason trying to teach spacing. Now we want to put it all together and go to the post a lot more and keep spacing. But I don’t know how we’re going to react yet under duress.. And we will be under duress in a lot of games.”
At the end of eight preseason games, Rivers noted his team had taken a step or two back on the defensive end but when the curtain rises, he expects the Clippers’ focus to snap back into place.
“Yeah, I do. It doesn’t mean you play great defense but I think they’ll give us the great defensive try, I’ll guarantee you that,” he said. “Our guys know our defense now. We can always get better at it and better at it because that’s trust.
“Defense is trust as much as anything and you don’t just walk into camp and say, ‘OK guys, do this and you have trust.’ That comes through the fire. But I think we know it and that’s the first part.