Doc Rivers “Wasn’t sure” about Shai Gilgeous-Alexander trade

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Los Angeles Clippers (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Los Angeles Clippers (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder have enjoyed watching Shai Gilgeous-Alexander turn into a star this season, still averaging 31 points per game this season, on his way to his first All-Star game in Salt Lake City, and playing at an All-NBA level. Sam Presti sits on a mountain of draft picks from the Paul George trade which landed SGA in Bricktown and George in LaLa Land.

On New Year’s Eve, the OKC Thunder hosted the Philadelphia 76ers, to continue the organization’s tradition of hosting a game on New Year’s Eve since the relocation from Seattle to Oklahoma City. With Doc Rivers pacing the sidelines for the 76ers, it gave the local media a chance to ask him about the rise of his former point guard.

The Oklahoma City Thunder got a steal when Sam Presti acquired Shai Gilgeous-Alexander from the L.A. Clippers, former coach Doc Rivers reveals he did not like the trade

The OKC Thunder pulled off one of the best trades in NBA history back in July of 2019 as Sam Presti shipped Paul George to the L.A. Clippers for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, and a historic amount of future first-round draft picks. The Clippers got back Paul George who was playing at an MVP-caliber level, and it led to them signing Kawhi Leonard away from the Champion Toronto Raptors.

Though, it wasn’t all high five and smiles in the Clippers’ war room. Then head coach Doc Rivers told those of us in the media on Saturday that he was “unsure” about the move to include Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the deal.

Rivers called Shai Gilgeous-Alexander “one of my favorite guys. Reminds me a lot of Tyrese (Maxey), just as far as his approach. He is one of those young guys in his rookie year that you could not coach enough. That loved being coached, overworked, and stood for everything that is good in the game.”

The NBA Champion went on to say the Thunder max contract point guard has a “quiet Demeanor but tough, and you knew this was coming, at least I did. I believe that.”

When it comes to trading away Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to make him the face of the Thunder franchise “I was not so sure about that, even though what we did was phenomenal, too. I kept thinking this kid’s gonna be special, I am really happy that he is because he is a good kid.”

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is in the midst of a fantastic season that will have him a lock for his first All-Star appearance, and he has an argument for an All-NBA team averaging 30 points, four rebounds, and five assists per game on 50 percent shooting from the floor, 35 percent from deep, and 91 percent from the free throw line through December (33 games).

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