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Doc Rivers responds to Chris Paul’s comments about Clippers’ culture

Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul has not been shy about making his thoughts and feelings about the L.A. Clippers known to the public after his departure this offseason. For one, he has criticized the culture surrounding the whole Clippers organization.

Clippers head coach and former team president Doc Rivers pushed back against Paul’s comments about the team’s culture, though — and has thrown the responsibility of culture-setting back at the players, per ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

Maybe it was just simmering, palpable tension between Rivers and Paul. “There are times players don’t want to be coached by you anymore,” Rivers says, without mentioning Paul’s name. (Paul declined comment through his representatives.) Rivers has seen Paul’s remarks about the team’s culture. “Who controls the culture?” he asks. “The players. Always the players. And even with Chris’ comments, he thought about coming back. J.J. [Redick] was begging to come back.”

Rivers raised a strong point that players should still remain in charge of controlling the culture within the team. And as the leader of the team, Paul had the responsibility to ensure that culture remained a positive one, even in less-than-ideal circumstances. However, the influence Rivers wielded around the organization because of his dual role as coach and executive also shouldn’t be completely ignored.

Ultimately, Paul and Rivers likely played at least some part in the problems that resulted in Paul’s departure this summer, whether they’d like to admit it or not.