After successfully acquiring Paul George and Kawhi Leonard last summer, the Los Angeles Clippers have managed to turn themselves from an average team to a legitimate title contender in the Western Conference. With two All-Stars and a quality supporting cast, most people considered the Clippers as the heavy favorites to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy in the 2019-20 NBA season. Unfortunately, they failed to live up to expectations.
Aside from failing to capture their first NBA championship title, the Clippers were even unable to advance to the Western Conference Finals after being upset by the Denver Nuggets in the second round. After suffering a huge disappointment, the drama has started to build around George and the Clippers. Aside from his reported heated exchange of words with Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell, Shams Charania of The Athletic revealed that George also had “verbal spats” with his other teammates during the 2020 Playoffs.
“Paul George had a disappointing series against Denver, and had several moments that left him in compromising positions with his teammates — beyond just his production,” Charania wrote, as quoted by Dan Feldman of NBC Sports. “Multiple teammates had verbal spats with George throughout the postseason, citing in their exchanges a lack of accountability from him.”
After their Game 7 loss against the Nuggets, George reportedly had a speech in the locker room, urging his teammates to remain committed and ready themselves to contend for the NBA championship title next year. However, instead of bringing the group together, his words were met by “eye rolls and bewilderment.”
“In the postgame locker room Tuesday night, George was preaching to teammates to remain committed, for all the players to return to the team this offseason and stay ready to make another run,” Charania added. “It was met by some eye rolls and bewilderment, sources said, because George did not back up his words with action in the series and the team has multiple free agents with decisions to make.”
It wasn’t surprising why some of the Clippers’ players were disappointed by George. He may have somewhat managed to establish an impressive performance in the regular season, averaging 21.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.4 steals while shooting 43.9 percent from the field and 41.2 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN. However, in the postseason where games matter the most, he was noticeably inconsistent on both ends of the floor and failed to live up to expectations from the man that was supposed to be the Clippers’ second-best player behind Leonard.
The ongoing drama surrounding George and his teammates would definitely make things more complicated for the Clippers in the 2020 offseason. If they fail to fix the issue before the start of the 2020 free agency, there’s a strong chance that they may end up losing some important members of their roster. Some of their incoming free agents this fall include Harrell, Marcus Morris Sr., Reggie Jackson, JaMychal Green, Patrick Patterson, and Joakim Noah.