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Jerry West explains Chris Paul, Blake Griffin trades and praises Clippers coach Doc Rivers

By in Press Enterprise on February 6, 2018

By Elliott Teaford

Jerry West acknowledged recently that the Clippers were not a championship-caliber team, which was why they traded Chris Paul during the offseason and Blake Griffin at midseason and might seek to complete further deals before Thursday’s NBA deadline.

West, the Clippers’ special consultant, also praised Doc Rivers for the job he’s done in coaching the injury-depleted team this season, calling him a Coach of the Year candidate during a wide-ranging conversation recorded last week for the “Not Just Sports with Suzy Shuster and Rich Eisen” podcast.

In addition, West spoke to Shuster about Clippers owner Steve Ballmer’s vision for the franchise’s future, saying, “If you’ve been as successful in life as he has, he doesn’t want something mediocre. He he wants something special, and that’s the assignment this front office has been given.

“Frankly, it gives you a reason to get up in the morning, Suzy, it really does.”

Going into the 2017-18 season, the Clippers enjoyed the greatest success the franchise has known, advancing to the playoffs six consecutive times and winning 50 games or more five straight seasons. The Clippers failed to get past the second round of the playoffs, though.

Clearly, change was in order, according to West.

“This was not a championship-caliber team,” he said. “Chris Paul, a tremendous player. chose to leave here (and the Clippers granted his trade request by sending him to the Houston Rockets in a multi-player deal), and when it happens, it opens up everyone’s eyes, OK?

“What can we do to make us better? Or, what can we do to make us more sustainable?”

The Clippers believed that by trading Paul and receiving guards Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams and forwards Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell in return last June 28, they had remade their roster in a way that made them serious playoff contenders again.

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