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Doc Rivers says Kevin Durant told him that Clippers were in his Top 3 during free agency

Clippers head coach and president Doc Rivers recently sat down to chat with
Adrian Wojnarowski’s The Vertical podcast, speaking to the process of hunting down free agent Kevin Durant this offseason. Although the former Thunder star decided to take his talents to the Warriors, apparently the Clippers nearly had him.

Rivers said on the podcast:

“We asked a simple question. We sat around trying to figure out what’s the right question. And the first question we asked is ‘are we in the top-3?’ and (Durant’s camp) said ‘yes.’ That made us feel good. We talked about it. My next question is ‘are we in the top-2?’ We made the decision, if they say ‘no’ then we go. If they say ‘yes’ we stay. They said ‘no’.”

The Los Angeles franchise did not have a lot of cap space to work with and were waiting on re-signing multiple players until they received the above indication from Durant. If Durant had decided to join the team, many returning Clippers would have needed to take a pay cut.

“I thought he liked us a lot…But when they kept looking at how we were going to do it. We had to actually ask each guy to take a hit financially,” Rivers added. “We needed Kevin to take a hit this year to fit and next year we would have needed Blake (Griffin) and Chris (Paul) to take a hit financially. He didn’t have to do that if he stayed in Oklahoma. He didn’t have to do that if he went to Golden State.”

If the Clippers were in a different state financially, Rivers seems to think Durant would be in L.A.

“I think at the end of the day, they looked at is as far as roster wise, well, ‘the Clippers look great, we love who they are but financially they are going to be so strapped, it’s going to be so hard to work, I think we’re going to go the safer place,’ and that was Golden State.”

Considering Durant was reportedly “blown away” by the Clippers’ presentation, perhaps if things don’t work out well in Golden State he could consider them in the future when the cap rises even higher.

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