The Klaw has been at the center of controversy after the NBA superstar missed 2 huge nationally televised games so far this season due to an apparent knee injury that some folks were skeptical about.
The NBA has a rule against healthy scratches during nationally televised games ... but the league agreed that Kawhi was hurt and allowed him to sit out the Clips' match-up with the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.
So, when Rivers was asked about Leonard's health after the game, he said Kawhi was actually just fine and wanted some rest.
The league didn't like that one bit ... hitting the Clippers with a $50k fine on Thursday.
“The NBA has fined the Clippers $50,000 for statements, including by head coach Doc Rivers, that were inconsistent with Leonard's health status," the league said in a statement.
To be clear -- the Association is saying Leonard actually IS injured ... making it okay for him to sit out against the Bucks.
The reason Doc's comments were such a big issue is that "load management" has fans getting pissed -- game attendees pay big bucks to see the superstars like Kawhi hoop ... and players sitting out to get some rest doesn't sit well with the customers.
Bottom line -- Steve Ballmer ain't gonna be happy with losing dough.