Doc Rivers Was Convinced Shai-Gilgeous Alexander Was A Star

Doc Rivers, Clippers, Thunder, NBA
Feb 18, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Eastern Conference head coach Doc Rivers of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts during the second half of the 73rd NBA All Star game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

With the NBA All-Star festivities coming to an end this weekend, the following days are usually a lull in the league schedule. Players and coaches have time to rest and relax, providing writers a chance to recharge their batteries as well.

However, there has been one person providing headlines for people during this slow time; Milwaukee Bucks’ head coach Doc Rivers. Some of the headlines have been self-created, as Rivers provided some interesting quotes during NBA All-Star Weekend.

He revealed that he told Bucks management he didn’t understand why they would fire Adrian Griffin and hire him when they did, as he thought coming in after the All-Star Break would be better. Rivers also spoke about how difficult it was to take over a team in the middle of the season.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Doc Rivers, Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder Updates

That led to some harsh comments from J.J. Redick, a former player under Rivers on the Los Angeles Clippers. Responses to what Redick said have been all over, as some people agree with him and others believe him to be dead wrong.

Rivers also made some interesting comments about the James Harden trade. He has taken credit for getting that deal over the finish line, claiming Clippers’ decision makers talked to him and he advocated for the deal despite some friction between him and Harden.

Most recently, Rivers shared his opinion on another blockbuster deal that has reshaped the NBA. In 2019, the Los Angeles Clippers acquired Paul George from the Oklahoma City Thunder for a historic package.

Los Angeles sent seven total picks to Oklahoma City along with Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. At the time, Alexander was thought of as a solid prospect after a solid rookie season with the Clippers.

But, Rivers claims that he felt Gilgeous-Alexander had star potential and the Clippers may not be making the right decision. He went as far as to change Kawhi Leonard’s mind about speeding up the roster-building process by recruiting George to Los Angeles as part of the deal for him signing there as a free agent.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Doc Rivers, Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder Updates

“I even brought it up to Kawhi: ‘Are you sure?'” Rivers recalled. “‘I think Shai’s going to be an amazing player. It may take a year or two, but I think you’re underestimating how good Shai’s going to be.’

“I didn’t argue the decision or anything, but I brought it up. I just thought, is there any way we can do this deal without putting Shai in it?”

Looking at how things have developed, Rivers was correct. Gilgeous-Alexander has turned into an MVP candidate for the Thunder, helping turn them into one of the powerhouse teams in the NBA that the Clippers now have to compete with.

You can be sure Gilgeous-Alexander will have a little extra motivation every time he takes the court against the Clippers. He was part of that trade because Los Angeles thought George could help them win an NBA Championship more so than he could. Now, Gilgeous-Alexander will be aiding the Thunder in making sure the Clippers don’t accomplish that goal.

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