Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard getting preferential treatment “ruffled the feathers of some teammates” this season.
According to the report from Jovan Buha and Joe Vardon of The Athletic:
“Players like Patrick Beverley, Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams—Clippers bedrocks before the arrival of Leonard and George—bristled when Leonard was permitted to take games off to manage his body and to live in San Diego, which often led to him being late for team flights, league sources said. The team also allowed Leonard to dictate to Doc Rivers when he could be pulled from games, among other things. Tyronn Lue was on Rivers’ bench for all of this, but the Clippers were Rivers’ show.”
Leonard wasn’t alone in receiving backlash from teammates this season.
Back in September, a report surfaced that Montrezl Harrell called out Paul George during a timeout in a Game 2 loss to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals because of a lack of accountability from George.
Despite the chemistry issues, the Clippers just hired Tyronn Lue as their next head coach, which made players “happy”, as Lue had “significant support among key Clippers players in the search process”.
Lue has won an NBA title with LeBron James after he replaced David Blatt as coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Lue came in and quickly changed the culture in the locker room.
“Upon Lue’s promotion, the first thing he did was to demand that the Cavs’ supporting stars—in this case, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love—sacrifice their individual brands and defer to LeBron. Lue also stripped LeBron of some of the power he’d stolen from Blatt inside the Cavs’ locker room, and demanded the league’s best player get in better shape, which got the attention of the entire team,” noted Buha and Vardon.
Similar to that Cavaliers team, the Clippers have the talent to win, they just needed someone new to lead them and provide a culture shift.
From the multiple reports, it sounds like it starts with Leonard and George taking more responsibility and holding themselves to a higher standard for the greater good of the team in the long run.