Matt Barnes was never one to mince words, and the former NBA player went in on Tuesday, calling current Clippers guard Austin Rivers “arrogant” while blaming his father and coach Doc Rivers for the demise of the Los Angeles Clippers.
During a guest appearance on Mad Dog Sports Radio, Barnes pointed out that Austin Rivers has always rubbed people in the NBA the wrong way, from coaches and teammates to other players around the league.
“He carries himself like he's a 10-time All-Star,” said Barnes, who played three seasons in L.A. with the father-son Rivers duo, “and he's not that.”
Barnes also pinpointed Doc Rivers for many of the organization's recent failures. He noted that although Rivers initially did well after replacing Vinny Del Negro in 2013, the players didn't respect him. They thought he was fake, a phony who'd tell them one thing and then do something different. Barnes specifically mentioned how Doc Rivers handled his son's contract, giving the young player a three-year deal for $35 million in the summer of 2016 despite Austin Rivers being consistently rated one of the league's worst players by advanced metrics.
It's easy to see why so many within the game feel a certain way about the 25-year-old Austin Rivers. He grew up the son of an NBA player and eventually became one of the country's most hyped basketball prospects. He went to Duke. He came into the NBA with a reputation as a gunner, which only intensified once his father became the coach and president of basketball operations. The “arrogant” accusations will only increase after what happened on Monday night.
During a wild matchup between the Clippers and the Houston Rockets, trash talk and hard fouls quickly turned into something much more serious. After the game, Rockets players Trevor Ariza, James Harden, Gerald Green and Chris Paul attempted to enter the Clippers locker room. They were reportedly so incensed over belligerent trash talk coming from the Clippers bench, Rivers being the key cog in that, that they were ready to take the on-court disagreements to another level. The NBA has since launched an investigation into the events.
Barnes has never had a flowery personality. His issues with former teammates (hello Derek Fisher) run the gamut. However, this isn't the first time we've heard someone call out Austin Rivers for being arrogant. It likely won't be the last time, either.
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