Austin Rivers and Chris Paul are together once more. Well, kind of. The latter’s injury prompted the light-benched Houston Rockets to sign the former Los Angles Clipper over the weekend in a move that made many wonder how Paul would take the news.
There was plenty of discussion when Paul worked a trade out of Los Angeles last summer that it was partially Rivers’ doing, both the guard and Doc Rivers, the Clippers coach. Many believed that, at least in part, would explain a lot of the tensions between the two teams, which last season spoiled over into an off-court confrontation where players used secret tunnels between locker rooms to scuffle about an on-court incident with Blake Griffin.
It was all very scandelous, and using a word like “despised” to describe your former coach and teammate isn’t a great sign, especially when that former teammate becomes a teammate once more. But Austin Rivers wants to assure you that there are no problems between he and Chris Paul. In fact, he wouldn’t be a Houston Rocket if there were. Rivers spoke to the Houston media on Monday and made it clear that things are square between he and Paul.
Rivers wanted to make it clear: he would be in Memphis or perhaps with some other team if the Rockets star actually had an issue with him. And he seems to feel like he’s in a good spot, complimenting what the Rockets have built and even making a joke about the tunnels at Staples Center in the process.
So perhaps there really isn’t an issue between the two players and things are completely fine. It’s always tough to know what’s actually happening in the locker room, and when what leaks out is about secret passageways to ferry players into confrontations it’s hard to assume positive things. But the Rockets need Rivers right now, it’s a good landing spot for him after an up and down season, and perhaps Paul is letting bygones be bygones for the sake of the team. Seems like a reasonable excuse to drop a grudge.