LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers says that Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan have a good relationship and that both players, along with Blake Griffin, understand they need each other to ultimately win a championship -- and they want to win one together.
"I can put this to rest: They get along great," Rivers told Fred Roggin of The Beast 980 on Thursday. "Clearly, like everybody, they don't get along all the time, and they don't get along with me all the time, either, by the way. I don't see that as an issue. I think all three, and I'm including Blake in this as well, understand how important the other guy is to them. Meaning, they all three need each other to win, and I think all three get that and all three know that and all three want to do it together. To me, that's the most important thing."
Jordan will be a free agent on July 1, and there have been reports that a possibly strained relationship with Paul could prevent him from re-signing with the Clippers.
Rivers has already said the Clippers will offer Jordan a max contract of five years for $108.7 million. Jordan could decide to spurn that offer and sign a four-year, $80.7 million deal elsewhere.
Rivers noted that both Griffin and Jordan are 26 and entering the prime of their careers, and that Michael Jordan and LeBron James didn't win their first titles until they were 27.
"We're right on schedule," Rivers said. "We're on schedule. We would have liked to have been ahead a little bit, obviously. We thought we would have at least been in the West finals, the way we were playing."
The Clippers became just the ninth NBA team to lose a series after taking a 3-1 lead, and did so in dramatic fashion when they lost Game 6 at home to the Houston Rockets despite holding a 19-point lead with 14 minutes left in the game. It's a loss Rivers hasn't gotten over and likely won't for a while.
"I don't say this often, and I don't want to disrespect Houston at all, but when you actually feel like you were the better team or you had a chance to clearly close it out yourself, it makes it a lot tougher," Rivers said. "Other than Game 7 of the Celtics-Lakers [in the 2010 NBA Finals], those two games back to back [Games 6 and 7 against Houston] were the toughest I've ever been involved in, but it doesn't stop me. I'm more energized today. I love this group, and I think we're right there and we're going to get there and we're not going to stop trying."