As part of his move to the Clippers, Doc Rivers was handed some personnel powers in addition to becoming coach. As the senior vice president of basketball operations, Rivers has the ability to facilitate deals — or stand in the way of them.
As a result, Rivers and his new team could get off to a shaky start. The Clippers are trying to trade guard Eric Bledsoe, who becomes a restricted free agent at the end of next season and is unlikely to re-sign just to back up Chris Paul. They rebuffed the Celtics’ attempts to include Bledsoe in the initial Rivers deal that involved Kevin Garnett, DeAndre Jordan and draft picks, and they have been talking to the Orlando Magic about swapping Bledsoe for Arron Afflalo. But Rivers and the Clippers may not be on the same page.
Rivers, who will be introduced to the media on Wednesday, “could push any Bledsoe trade into July — or maybe even longer — because Rivers is a well-known Bledsoe fan who has indicated he’d like to keep Bledsoe around if possible,” ESPN.com reports.
This is a rough way for Rivers and the Clippers to begin their marriage. The Clippers need to trade Bledsoe. He is a luxury they cannot afford to lose without compensation next summer, and the Clippers’ leverage will only fall the closer they get to the end of Bledsoe’s contract. Rivers should understand this. If he doesn’t, that does not bode well for his tenure in basketball ops.