More reports of discord are emerging within the Clippers locker room now. It seems Clippers veterans like Beverley and Lou Williams resented Kawhi’s preferential treatment.
The Clippers never truly clicked through the course of the past NBA season. Despite finishing second in the West, it was clear that there was something missing.
They were eventually exposed against the Nuggets after struggling past a hobbled Dallas team. It became clear that the team had fitness and chemistry issues all through the way.
Kawhi Leonard’s load management irked his Clippers teammates
Kawhi Leonard has a degenerative knee condition that requires him to be managed with care. During the Raptors’ championship run in the 2018-19 NBA season, Leonard was rested for over a quarter of their regular season games.
“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.” 😯
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) October 16, 2020
This kept him in relatively good condition come playoff time, though he was hobbling by the time they played the Bucks in the Conference Finals.
Patrick Beverley, who was a part of the Chris Paul trade that sent 8 players to the Clippers, was particularly peeved at this preferential treatment.
Beverley, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell did not take kindly after the fact that Kawhi got to make periodic visits to his family in San Diego during the season. They believed that it was messing with their practice rhythms and they couldn’t gel together.