Kawhi and Paul George present a second chance for Doc Rivers

Throughout Kawhi Leonard’s free agency, we heard and talked a lot about his desire for secrecy and discretion in his negotiations. The three teams involved mostly abided by those wishes, lest they risk losing the two-time NBA Finals MVP over a careless leak or slipup.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

But on the night of July 5, before the news broke that Leonard had committed to the LA Clippers — with whom he’d be joined by forward Paul George after the Clippers acquired him in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder — a major breach occurred.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers was at dinner at Nobu, an upscale sushi restaurant in Malibu, with a group of friends. He’d been told to stay close to his phone all night, knowing the deals for George and Leonard were close. But watching his phone for updates was torture and, in Rivers’ mind, possibly a jinx. So he put it out of his mind and tried to enjoy his night.

Rivers looked around to see if anyone else was eyeing him and connecting the dots on why he was so excited. The security guard smiled. Rivers laughed, knowing the security guard had figured out that the Clippers had landed Leonard but not wanting to confirm anything and break the first rule of Kawhi Club.1

“And then he was like, ‘Yeah, I’m sure of it,'” Rivers recalled. “I couldn’t even acknowledge him. He was laughing. I was laughing.”

Shortly thereafter, the rest of the NBA world knew why. The Clippers not only landed Leonard; they got George too. That’s two seismic moves that figure to alter the league for years to come.

But Rivers has been in this place before — the media conference at which everyone is excited about possibilities and potential. He came to Los Angeles in 2013 with a media conference like this as the purported missing piece for the “Lob City” era of the Clippers.

That group — with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan — never bore fruit, which makes this something of a do-over for Rivers.cheap official nike nfl jerseys

“I never think you start over,” he said. “I don’t think you get to. I think you go through stuff, and you learn from it and keep going.

“So I view this as another opportunity to win it. And let’s be honest: You don’t have a lot of opportunities to actually win it. When you have that, you take advantage of it.”

Rivers said he will go on vacation for a bit before he starts to figure out how to take advantage of the opportunity this group has.

But if there’s one thing he has learned — or one regret from the Lob City era he’d like to make right — it’s impressing a sense of urgency upon this group.