According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski as of Wednesday night, the Celtics and Clippers had, for all intents and purposes, agreed to a deal. The constructs of the deal, as reported by Wojnarowski, were that Boston would send Rivers and Kevin Garnett to Los Angeles in exchange for DeAndre Jordan and two first-round picks.
Unfortunately, after submitting the trade for Stern's review, it was unceremoniously denied. Stern shot down the deal publicly on ESPN Radio in New York, as transcribed by Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, saying:
The teams are aware that the collective bargaining agreement doesn’t authorize trades involving coaches’ contracts…The teams know that. It has been confirmed to them...It can’t be gotten around by breaking it up into two transactions.
If you think those, at this point—having been all over the media for the last week—are separate transactions…I have a bridge that I would very much enjoy selling to you.
ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne have been following this developing story, and they report that Los Angeles has decided to abandon any notion of landing Garnett or Paul Pierce at this present time and will focus solely on Rivers, according to sources:
The Los Angeles Clippers' new strategy, in the wake of NBA commissioner David Stern's public comments Thursday...is to pursue Rivers first and roll the dice on acquiring Garnett and Paul Pierce later on, sources told ESPN.
At the crux of this entire effort for the Clippers is a desire to keep point guard Chris Paul in Los Angeles. Paul is set to become a free agent on July 1, and there is no shortage of interest for his services.
According to Wojnarowski's report on Wednesday night, "Rivers is accepting the job with a belief that the All-Star point guard has decided to stay and play for him, sources told Yahoo! Sports."
Who is the most important person for the Clippers to land?
This entire process has been complicated and likely frustrating for both parties.
Both sides appear to want a deal done, but since a trade that includes a head coach for a player isn't covered in the CBA (per CBA author Larry Coon), the league won't approve any deal that includes Rivers and any players.
Furthermore, as Stern stated in his appearance on ESPN Radio New York, he isn't going to let any deal for Garnett or Pierce go down any time soon.
...that there can't be any side agreements to a deal, and the Rivers accommodation would be such a side deal. So it'd have to @AdamDaroff— Larry Coon (@LarryCoon) June 20, 2013
...be more than just two separate, parallel trades. They would have to be separated in time as well. @AdamDaroff— Larry Coon (@LarryCoon) June 20, 2013
According to Stein and Shelburne's report, Los Angeles' first concern is to land Rivers in order to keep Paul.
Is Stern's approach to this situation fair or foul?
After that is accomplished, the team will then attempt to convince Stern "that any subsequent trade agreement they pursue for Garnett is ultimately approved by the league as a separate transaction that was not contingent on the hiring of Rivers."
Good luck with that.
With so many twists and turns already complicating this proposed deal, you can be sure there will be more to come. This story is far from over, and it will be fascinating to see how it unfolds.
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