The move that could send Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers and center Kevin Garnett to the Los Angeles Clippers is still alive, but the two teams are at an impasse in discussions about how to make it happen. Still, a resolution is expected in the coming days. The only question that matters at the moment is whether Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge eventually will decide that acquiring fifth-year center DeAndre Jordan and two future first-round picks is fair compensation for losing his coach and his 37-year-old big man. If he does, according to two people with knowledge of the situation, this deal will likely get done. If he doesn't, and instead insists that third-year Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe must also be in the trade, then Rivers and Garnett would stay put and the Clippers would simply hire one of the coaching candidates who have interviewed for their vacant job (former Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins and Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw lead that group). While Celtics small forward Paul Pierce is not part of the trade talks, he could be bought out of the final year of his contract this July ($5 million of his $15.3 million) and join Rivers and Garnett with the Clippers as a free agent if this deal went down. The people spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the talks. While Rivers would not technically be part of the trade, the Celtics would allow the Clippers to sign him as part of the agreement. Rivers has a non-compete clause in his contract that would be nullified, and he would forgo the three years and $21 million remaining on his Celtics contract.The Clippers are prepared to pay him just less than $7 million annually, but only if they can bring him in without mortgaging their future by losing Bledsoe. Yet if Rivers were willing consider giving back some of his earnings as a way to ease Ainge's pain, that could be a way to nudge these negotiations along. The Celtics could move forward with a new coach whose salary would be, in essence, paid for by the old coach. The Clippers' refusal to let go of Bledsoe has everything to do with his potential as a trade piece to help them add another star player in the future. And the revelation of how they see him as part of their possible plans has exposed a new truth: the Clippers have considered the idea of trading power forward Blake Griffin. Their interest in holding onto Bledsoe is, in part, tied to the notion that they could put him in a package with Griffin to do a sign-and-trade for Lakers center and free-agent-to-be Dwight Howard. It's unclear whether the Lakers would consider the proposal if Howard decided not to re-sign with them, but it is a clear sign that the Clippers no longer see Griffin as the untouchable asset that he was once believed to be. Howard is merely one of a number of options being considered internally by the Clippers, with Orlando Magic guard Arron Afflalo and Indiana small forward Danny Granger also known to be on their radar.
Celtics stall talks on Doc Rivers-Kevin Garnett trade with Clippers
USA Today | Jun 17