Looks like there might be trouble in La La Land.
The Los Angeles Clippers enter Thursday with the West’s third-best record, but there seems to be some controversy going on behind closed doors.
Several of the players on the team are said to be struggling with the Clippers’ “preferential treatment” of star forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, league sources told The Athletic’s Jovan Buha and Sam Amick.
Case in point: the team canceled 2 walk-throughs during the season and multiple players on the squad who were eager to work truly believe that Kawhi Leonard made the call.
“As more than a dozen sources shared in The Athletic’s reporting on the matter, the transition from the team’s overachieving past to its promising present has not been seamless. From the frustrations relating to Leonard’s injury management and his quiet ways, to the different views regarding regular-season competition, to the reality that their chosen style of play isn’t always conducive to collective joy, there are issues tugging at this talented team that will need to be resolved by the time the playoffs come around.
“I think it boils down to Kawhi not talking, and so who is their true leader?” one source with knowledge of the Clippers’ dynamics said. “How do you get around that?”
Earlier this month, it was center Montrezl Harrell who shed a bit of light on the team’s internal struggles after they got demolished by 26 points to the Memphis Grizzlies.
“We’re not a great team,” Harrell told reporters postgame, including Clutchpoints’ Tomer Azarly. “We just came together this year. We have two players that (weren’t) a part of this team last year … I think that’s what we need to realize and wake up. We’re a team that still has to figure out things that we need to do to win night in and night out.”
Even with the internal issues, Leonard and George are the Clippers’ top-two scorers at 27.1 and 23.5 points per game and the Clippers have won won seven of its last 10 games and currently sit with a 31-14 record.