Back when the LA Clippers first started to court Doc Rivers, it appeared he and Kevin Garnett were a package deal. And, as a result of that, DeAndre Jordan looked to be on his way out of town.

Things didn't quite work out that way, though. Rivers is with the Clippers, but Garnett became a member of the Brooklyn Nets in a trade with Paul Pierce. Jordan is still with the Clippers, and Rivers is intent on letting the world know he wanted it that way.

"I couldn't get involved in that whole thing," Rivers said, accordi

ng to "That was the strangest thing in the world. I was seeing the trade talks and I was saying, 'Wait a minute! We don't want to give away that guy.' We wanted that other guy too. That was the home run to get both.

"[Jordan] is just too young and too gifted to let walk out your door, bottom line. He's a game changer defensively. He can single-handedly change a game with his defense. There's five guys, and that number maybe too high, that can do that single-handedly with their size and athleticism and he's one of them. When you have one of those guys, you want to keep them."

Rivers' praise of Jordan is not an isolated incident. He wants to focus Jordan's efforts toward defense, a move Rivers feels will make Jordan a All-Defensive player and Defensive Player of the Year candidate. Rivers has been pleased with Jordan since training camp started this past week, and now that preseason has started there will be a chance for the young center to display his improvement. 

"No one's been better than that guy," Rivers said of Jordan's showing in training camp. "He's been on another level."

Jordan hasn't always been dialed in. Last season Jordan complained about his place in the offense on a team that showcases Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford. Because the offense is set, Jordan sees an opportunity for him to set the tone on defense.

"It's about maturity," Jordan said. "I have to set an example for my teammates, so do Chris and Blake. But my thing is mainly defense. That's my only focus this year. I'm not really focused on anything. Defense is my first, second and third priority."