The Celtics-Clippers rumors have arisen in just about every rendition, so it was only a matter of time before this combo came down the pipe.
The Clippers, responding to NBA commissioner David Stern saying he had concerns about the Clippers and Celtics working on a deal that would appear to trade players for a coach, are now looking to just secure Doc Rivers‘ release from the Celtics so he can coach in Los Angeles instead, Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein of ESPN.com report. Any players the Clippers were hoping to acquire would now come in a later deal.
Stern said Thursday that the rumored deal, which was to release Rivers and send Kevin Garnett to the Clippers in exchange for DeAndre Jordan and two first-round draft picks, violated the essence of a collective bargaining agreement rule that forbids coaches’ contracts being included in trades. Although the Clippers and Celtics were never reported to have finalized the deal, and nothing went to the NBA office, the insecurity made the often-stalling deal stall further.
Yahoo! Sports reported Thursday evening that the Clippers had not offered the Celtics anything for Rivers, with some questions arising about whether the front office had the power in the organization to make the move.
The ESPN report says that, with all the roadblocks that have surfaced, Rivers is now the “primary target.” Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who would have to green-light any deals, has already “signed off on paying upward of $7 million a year for five years” to Rivers, so all that’s left is finding suitable compensation to send to Boston to get Rivers out of his Celtics contract, according to the report.
Any hopes the Clippers have of signing additional players, whether it be the oft-mentioned Garnett or Paul Pierce and his large contract, would have to come after the fact. With the league already wary of the deal as it’s been rumored, the Clippers and Celtics would have to convince the league that there were no pending side deals when they work out the move for Rivers, meaning the other trades could be in a much more precarious position.
The Celtics sent out a media advisory Friday morning announcing that Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and Rivers would be available to the media at noon Friday. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald now reports that the press conference has been moved to Monday.