Leverage is the reason the Cleveland Cavaliers fired Mike Brown in order to retain Lebron James. That didn’t work, but it puts NBA owners in awkward positions when attempting to please a superstar.
Enter Chris Paul. It was no secret that the Los Angeles Clippers was the best place for Paul to return to during the off-season, but if Donald Sterling and company had made the wrong moves, he would have threatened to bolt. This is where leverage comes in. According to Bill Simmons a.k.a. the Sports Guy, Chris Paul threatened the Clippers with signing with the Houston Rockets if they didn’t do things right. Here’s what he said:
To Chris Paul, who basically told the Clippers that after they squashed the first incarnation of their Doc Rivers trade. Chris didn’t like that. He let them know he was heading to Houston to team up with Dwight. And he wasn’t kidding. For about 36 hours, Morey probably felt like all 11 guys in “Ocean’s Eleven.” You know what happened next: The Clippers blinked, the Doc trade got revived and finished, and the Clippers were offering Chris 107 million reasons to play for him. Crisis averted. The lesson, as always: Chris Paul runs the Clippers.
via The NBA’s Midnight Run, Part 1 | Grantland
This is still a rumor. No “source” outside of Simmons has spoken of this rumor so take it how you want.
Can you blame Paul though considering the franchises lackluster management from the past? Especially in the sense that it worked. Had Chris Paul not pressed for it would Vinny Del Negro still be the head coach of this team? Would Donald Sterling have caved in to the Boston Celtics demand to acquire Doc Rivers? That’s why he put his leverage to the test and it didn’t backfire unlike the Cavaliers decision I mentioned earlier.
It is interesting to think of a Paul, James Harden and Dwight Howard trio could have been though.