Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were given preferential treatment during the 2019-20 season that hurt the team's chemistry, The Athletic reports.
Leonard and George were reportedly given personal security guards, trainers and power over the team's practice schedule. Teammates also believed Leonard and George were able to decide which games they wanted to play in, according to The Athletic.
Furthermore, Leonard was reportedly allowed to live in San Diego, leading to delays in the Clippers' flights, and additionally requested a personal space for his pregame routine, which often kept female staffers out of their locker room for 20-45 minutes.
The star treatment resulted in a lack of buy-in from the rest of the team, with the team's competitive culture undone in "a matter of months," The Athletic reports.
The Clippers' 2019-20 season ended after they were upset by the Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals. Denver fought back from a 3-1 series deficit to advance to the West finals against the Lakers.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers was let go in the offseason with assistant Ty Lue later named as his replacement. Lue was hired in part for his ability to hold star players accountable and will look to push Leonard and George to go without "requests or standards" to set an example for the team, The Athletic reports.
Leonard and George signed with Los Angeles ahead of the 2019-20 season and are each slated to become free agents in 2021. Leonard (27.1 points per game) and George (21.5) led the Clippers to a 49-23 regular-season record and No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, behind the No. 1 Lakers (51-19), before their playoff semifinal exit.
The Clippers will reportedly begin their 2020-21 season against the Lakers on Tuesday, Dec. 22.