After seeing the New York Knicks trade Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder and his team parting ways with Chris Paul in the offseason, L.A. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers has understandably heard a lot of comparisons for both teams losing their former franchise players. However, he feels there’s a big difference in their situations, unlike what many see.
The veteran head coach explained, via Fred Kerber of the New York Post, what he thinks the difference is for the Clippers and Knicks to lose the two aforementioned stars. He then gave credit to them for the jobs they did during their tenures with both teams.
“We didn’t get rid of ours. Ours got rid of us. There’s a big difference,” Rivers said. “For us, I don’t think it was as hard. It would be more interesting if we were healthy and you can say that. We still have Blake [Griffin] and DJ [DeAndre Jordan] and you still have some remnants. But Melo is a big change.
“He was the cornerpiece here and when you move that, it’s a big change. But it looks like it was time for Porzingis anyway. So I think that wasn’t as hard either. They both did great things. Chris was phenomenal for us. Melo did his best here. He had some terrific years here. When that happens, you thank them and you move on. Franchises keep going on long after them and us.”
As it turned out, the Clippers and Knicks are on different paths when it comes to their success so far this season. New York has been a surprising team in the East, winning nine of their first 16 games with Porzingis living up to expectations, embracing his new role as their franchise player. The L.A. team, on the other hand, have a nine-game losing streak and saw their record fall to 5-11. Although injuries have also played a big part in their slump, it appears that they are missing the leadership and court smarts of CP3.
The good news for them is it’s still early days into the campaign and with 66 games left on their regular season schedule, they have more than enough time to turn things around. It will also allow their new additions to prove their worth, and build better chemistry on the court with two of their cornerstones, Griffin and Jordan.