The big three for the Los Angeles Clippers (Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan) have been together for five years. Head coach Doc Rivers has been there for three, and he was initially brought there to deliver championships, similar to how he built Boston in 2008. The problem is this team hasn’t made it to the conference finals as a core with or without Rivers yet. Paul is turning 31 in a few days and Jordan and Griffin are entering their prime. But Doc still likes what he has from his core group and his team in general enough to not want to trade or disband anybody.
“I like our core and I like our bench, which was really good this year,” the Clippers’ coach said three days after the Clippers were eliminated from the playoffs by the Portland Trail Blazers in six games.
“I think they all want to come back, and we’re going to make a strong effort to bring all our guys back. The good news about the free-agent guys who are opting out on their contracts — as they should, because everyone knows what we can spend and what we can’t spend — I can’t find one who doesn’t want to be.
“We’re close, and we know that,” Rivers said. “We have a priority of trying to just keep making our team better. Obviously because of the injuries — Blake’s in particular — we literally don’t know what we could have done. Even during the playoffs, he still wasn’t 100 percent.”