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During the Chris Paul–Blake Griffin–DeAndre Jordan era, the Los Angeles Clippers were always one of the best teams in the NBA during the regular season and looked primed to contend for a championship year after year.
The Clippers, however, never made it past the second-round of the playoffs and often got in its own way with big time collapses and mental mistakes.
J.J. Redick, who was on many of those Clipper teams, believes pettiness stood in the way of a potential title.
“I don’t think there was one moment,” Redick said on the “Pardon My Take” podcast last Tuesday. “Doc (Rivers) used to always talk about how when one group was together for a long period of time, instead of getting closer together, you end up pointing fingers at each other.
“It was weird because separately, everybody was really cool with each other. Off the court, everybody sort of got along. And then, there was just so much pettiness. It was just pettiness. It’s weird to think what we had the potential to accomplish, and what ultimately derailed that was pettiness. Like, Donald Trump-level pettiness.”
Griffin and Paul were believed to have a tense relationship behind closed doors, while Paul’s bond with Rivers began to deteriorate after Rivers decided not to trade for New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony in a deal which would have included Rivers’ son, Austin Rivers.
The Clippers were on the brink of facing the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals in 2015 before blowing a 3-1 series lead against the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Semifinals.
This upcoming season will be the first year since 2011 that the Clippers won’t have Paul, Griffin or Jordan on the team. Paul was traded to the Houston Rockets in 2017, Griffin was sent to the Detroit Pistons at the 2018 February trade deadline and Jordan signed with the Dallas Mavericks this offseason in free agency.
Redick left the Clippers in 2017 to sign with the Philadelphia 76ers. In his first season with the Sixers, Redick averaged 17.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 70 games, shooting 46.0 percent from the field and 42.0 percent from three.
The sharpshooter re-signed with the Sixers this summer on a one-year deal worth $12.25 million.