The Clippers are paying for coach Doc Rivers’ candor.
The NBA fined the club $50,000 on Thursday, one day after Rivers told media (per Clutch Points) that star forward Kawhi Leonard “feels great” even though he was missing Wednesday’s nationally televised home game vs. the Bucks. The league had taken the unusual step earlier Wednesday to say Leonard was dealing with a knee tendon injury.
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Because Rivers’ statement was in opposition to what the league and Clippers team doctors were claiming, the Clippers organization was hit with the fine.
Leonard himself has been saying that he feels fine.
Rivers told reporters Thursday that he was done talking about Leonard’s health, adding sarcastically that he “loved getting fined.”
This was the second time in a week that Leonard was inactive for a game; like the first occasion, the sitdown came on the first night of a back-to-back. The Clippers are hosting the Trail Blazers on Thursday. Leonard is expected to play in that game.
Leonard played in 60 games for the Raptors last season as the team actively managed his workload. In fact, “load management” was a frequent reason for him missing games. Rivers, in his comments to Clutch Points, cited Leonard’s minutes in the playoffs for Toronto as a reason for the Clippers being cautious with him early this season.
This article has been updated with Rivers’ pregame comments and to correct that the Clippers are at home on Thursday.