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Report: Kawhi Leonard, Paul George consulted before Clippers’ decision to move on from Doc Rivers

Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Doc Rivers, Steve Ballmer, Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers made headlines on Monday by deciding to part ways with veteran head coach Doc Rivers.

However, Clippers owner Steve Ballmer did not make the final decision before consulting with his top stars.

Ramona Shelburne and Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN say Ballmer reached out to both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George before informing Rivers the team intended to move on:

Ballmer consulted with Frank, minority shareholder Dennis Wong and consultant Jerry West. Before a final decision was made, sources said Ballmer called several key players — including George and Leonard — to get their opinions. Nothing the players told him, sources said, changed Ballmer’s mind about moving on from Rivers. Ultimately, the decision to part ways with Rivers was Ballmer’s.

Rivers’ status as the team’s head coach came into question when the Clippers blew a 3-1 lead against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals.

The Clippers seemed to succumb to internal turmoil, and Shams Charania of The Athletic initially reported last week that players questioned Rivers’ coaching decisions during the Nuggets series. There have been further reports this week about the issues that plagued the locker room.

Still, there had been no indications that Rivers’ dismissal was imminent, even amidst some of the criticism. He was still one of the most respected coaches in the league, and many insiders felt his job was safe.

Obviously, that was not the case.

Ballmer and the rest of Clippers management will now look for a head coach to lead Year 2 of Leonard and George’s partnership. The solution may come from within, as assistants Tyronn Lue and Sam Cassell have both generated some buzz as head coaching candidates.

Regardless, it appears the Clippers could do a bit of catering to their top stars, much like the situation in Brooklyn with Steve Nash and the Nets.