The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers' trade negotiations surrounding Doc Rivers have gone back and forth over the past week, but the teams have reportedly finally come to an agreement.
ESPN's Jackie MacMullan has the news:
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.
Although the deal is not yet official, this is easily as close to completion as it has been since talk began. Rivers' son Austin, guard for the New Orleans Pelicans, is clearly ready to take on his dad a little more often:
Let the battles in the West Coast begin dad!— Austin Rivers (@AustinRivers25) June 23, 2013
Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times has more information regarding the draft pick being dealt by the Clips:
Clippers will send 2015 unprotected pick to Celtics for Doc Rivers.— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) June 23, 2013
I'm sure the Celtics would have liked to add another selection in what is expected to be a stacked 2014 draft, but there is still plenty of more talent further on the horizon. According to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, this trade is apparently going down at the 11th hour:
Clippers were prepared to hire either Brian Shaw or Byron Scott on Monday if Celtics had said no, sources tell ESPN.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 23, 2013
That equals rough news for Byron Scott, per The Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman:
Poor Byron Scott.. Yesterday at this time, the Clippers job looked like it was his— Benjamin Hochman (@nuggetsnews) June 23, 2013
ESPN Stats & Info puts Rivers' tenure with Boston into perspective:
Doc Rivers to coach the Clippers. He's got the 3rd-most wins in Celtics history, trailing Red Auerbach and Tom Heinsohn.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 23, 2013
Although this is the beginning of the end for the Celtics' most recent championship-caliber era, ESPN's Fran Fraschilla likes the deal for Boston:
Good deal for Celtics. Love Doc but Celtics off the hook for Doc's 21 million as they rebuild. What's next for C's?— Fran Fraschilla (@franfraschilla) June 23, 2013
Chicago Bulls voice Chuck Swirsky states his problem with the trade:
I love Doc Rivers. Class act but I just don't like how this thing went down.— chuck swirsky (@swirsk054) June 23, 2013
As the Washington Post's Michael Lee points out, his departure from the historically successful Celtics signals a bit of a changing of the guard in NBA:
Somebody forced his way out of Boston to join the Clippers. Think about that for a minute.— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) June 23, 2013
It also exemplifies the amazing turnover currently going on within the head coaching ranks, per ESPN's Jeremy Lundblad:
With Doc Rivers moving on, the longest tenured head coach in Eastern Conference is somehow Erik Spoelstra— Jeremy Lundblad (@JLundbladESPN) June 23, 2013
ESPN's Stats & Info expands on that same topic:
Doc Rivers is the 7th coach that won't return to his team after making the playoffs last season. That's the most in NBA history.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 23, 2013
Seemingly, no head coach is safe.
Of course, this trade is especially notable for the effect it will have on superstar free-agent-to-be Chris Paul.
Most believed the addition of Rivers would sway him to say in Los Angeles, and ESPN's Marc Stein confirmed that belief:
Sources tell ESPN that Clips believe CP3 will soon notify them that deal w/Doc Rivers' clinches his ... http://t.co/FCETvB8Xj9— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 23, 2013
As Hardwood Paroxysm points out, that may not mean Paul and Kevin Garnett become the best of friends, especially if the latter is stuck in Boston during the rebuilding process:
If KG gets stranded on the Celtics with Vinny Del Negro, Chris Paul will have to watch his rear view mirror for the rest of his life.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) June 23, 2013
But, hey, after all of that, let's not get ahead of ourselves. The deal isn't yet official, and as the SportsCenter parody account reminds us, commissioner David Stern has stopped a trade once before: