Celtics and Clippers Reportedly Agree in Principle to Doc Rivers Deal

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IJune 19, 2013

The deal that would send Doc Rivers from the Boston Celtics to the Los Angeles Clippers may be close to completion, as the teams have reportedly agreed to a deal in principle.

UPDATE: Sunday, June 23, at 6:00 p.m. ET by Tom Kinslow

Jackie MacMullan of ESPNBoston.com is reporting that the Clippers and Celtics have agreed to a deal in principle that would send Doc Rivers to Los Angeles.

Sources confirmed on Sunday that the Clippers will sign Rivers to a three-year, $21 million contract. They will send a first-round pick as compensation for the Boston Celtics, who have agreed to release the coach from the three years, $21 million he has remaining on his deal with the club.
Contrary to previous reports, according to league and team sources, the Celtics have been complicit all along in assisting Rivers make the switch from Boston to Los Angeles.

Not only that, but MacMullan reports that Celtics GM Danny Ainge is trying to trade Paul Pierce for a first-round draft choice.

Team sources confirmed Ainge has also been trying to secure a first-round pick for veteran Paul Pierce, who can be bought out by June 30 for $5 million. The Celtics have been unsuccessful thus far, leaving open the possibility they keep Pierce and his $15.3 million contract on their books, and attempt to deal him again at the trade deadline next winter, when teams historically look for veteran help and are willing to overpay.

Celtics ownership, which blanched at the thought of paying a coach $7 million a season for a team that will not be in contention for a division title, never mind an NBA title, is also on board with Rivers' departure, sources said.

---End of update---

UPDATE: Sunday, June 23, at 3:55 p.m. ET by Brandon Galvin

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski has the latest on negotiations between the Clippers and Celtics regarding Doc Rivers.

Rivers and the Clippers are working on the language of a five-year, $35 million contract, and no agreement will be in place until those details are finalized, sources said.

Rivers told the Clippers that he was no longer interested in the position on Friday, but pressure from the franchise's star player, Chris Paul, stayed strong on Clippers management over the weekend and Los Angeles reconsidered its unwillingness to give Boston a first-round pick, sources said.

Wojnarowski also reported that the sides are agreeing upon an unprotected 2015 first-round draft pick.

Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times is also hearing that things are close between the two sides.

However, Ken Berger of CBS Sports says that just because the two sides are close to an agreement doesn't mean it's the final hurdle in this saga.

Not only that, but Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated is reporting that Rivers' salary will also be a big factor in the culmination of the deal.

However, should the deal go down, ESPN's Marc Stein reports that it would secure Chris Paul's services for the next five seasons on a max contract.

---End of update---

UPDATE: Sunday, June 23, at 12:40 p.m. ET by Brandon Galvin

Boston Globe's Baxter Holmes has the latest on Doc Rivers' future:

A decision is expected soon, possibly as early as Monday, when Rivers is expected to return to Boston.

There’s still a chance that the Clippers could meet the Celtics’ asking price of a first-round pick, which could lead to the Celtics releasing Rivers from his contract, allowing him to head west to coach Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and chase another championship...

... As for the 37-year-old Kevin Garnett, the Clippers have backed off trying to acquire the All-Star big man for now, a league source said.

---End of update---

UPDATE: Friday, June 21, at 10:13 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

According to Los Angeles Times reporter Broderick Turner, the Clippers are not ready to give up the chase for Rivers:

The Clippers will make another effort Monday to try to complete a deal with the Boston Celtics for Coach Doc Rivers, said NBA executives who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.


The Clippers and Celtics talked again Friday but couldn't make a deal.

"I think there is still some life left in it," one executive said. "The door is not closed yet on getting a deal done."

The Clippers won't budge on their current offer of a second-round draft pick for the rights to Rivers, the executives said.

---End of update---

UPDATE: Friday, June 21, at 8:22 p.m. ET by Kyle Vassalo

According to Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski, Doc Rivers' future as the Celtics' head coach will be decided Monday:

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Friday, June 21, at 5:00 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Clippers will have to look elsewhere for a new head coach:

---End of update---

UPDATE: Thursday, June 20, at 12:35 p.m. ET by Brandon Galvin

The Celtics and Clippers are exploring different avenues for potential trades, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.

Stein and Ramona Shelburne further outlined the league's inquiry about the potential trade:

The teams awoke Thursday, sources said, close to an agreement on separate transactions that would land Garnett and Rivers in Los Angeles. The first is a proposed one-for-one player swap that would send Clippers center DeAndre Jordan to Boston for Garnett, who would waive his no-trade clause to clinch the deal. The second move would require the Clippers to convey two first-round picks to Boston as compensation for the Celtics agreeing to let Rivers out of the three years and $21 million left on his contract.

League rules not only prohibit coaches from being formally 'traded' but likewise prevent teams from making any trade or free-agent signing with contingencies or side deals attached. So it is incumbent on the Celtics and Clippers to convince the league office that these transactions would be made independently...

...One source with knowledge of the talks told ESPN.com on Thursday that the Celtics and Clippers have been negotiating for days knowing that league rules could well prohibit the transactions from going through.

Another source connected to the talks said Thursday that the Celtics and the Clippers, in the wake of ESPN.com's report about the league's concerns, have begun discussing alternative trade constructions to address any potential misgivings from the NBA.

NBA commissioner David Stern spoke with ESPN's Colin Cowherd about the situation:

---End of update---

UPDATE: Thursday, June 20, at 1:55 a.m. ET by Ian Hanford

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports the talks between the Celtics and the Clippers have taken a very significant step: 

After superstar Chris Paul injected his influence to accelerate talks, the Los Angeles Clippers are searching for ownership approval to complete a blockbuster deal to bring Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers and forward Kevin Garnett to L.A., league sources told Yahoo! Sports. 

Clippers management planned to huddle with owner Donald Sterling on Wednesday night in Los Angeles to get his approval and move on Thursday to finalize an agreement with the Celtics, sources said. 


---End of update---

UPDATE: Wednesday, June 19, at 9:39 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

According to Los Angeles Times reporter Brad Turner, NBA fans will have to wait at least another day before this situation is sorted out:

---End of update---

According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, L.A. reportedly is attempting to once again open up trade talks: 

And the back-and-forth continues. Several days ago, the teams were reportedly restructuring the deal they had been mulling over for some time.

According to ESPN's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne, the proposal would have sent Garnett, Rivers and Courtney Lee (or Jason Terry) to the Clippers in exchange for DeAndre Jordan, the expiring contract of Caron Butler and first-round draft picks. 

The Clippers insisted on excluding burgeoning young point guard Eric Bledsoe from the trade. 

However, talks broke down on Tuesday and the Los Angeles Times' Brad Turner reported that the Clips had called off the deal. 

Moreover, Danny Ainge, per the Boston Globe's Baxter Holmes, reported that the deal was "dead."

But it would appear "dead" didn't actually mean "dead"—it just meant comatose. 

It's unclear if the details of the potential trade are now different, or if Los Angeles has softened on its restrictions, but Grantland's Bill Simmons offers some insight into why the Clippers could be having a change of heart:

That's the end game. 

The Clippers can't afford to lose superstar point guard Chris Paul, and bringing in the tandem of Rivers and Garnett (and possibly Paul Pierce, as well, per Rob Mahoney of SI.com) would nearly assure that he re-signs. 

We'll see if Boston uses that leverage and persuades L.A. to sweeten the deal—or if a deal even happens at all. 

If we've learned anything, it's that the details in this story can change in a heartbeat. 


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