As soon as talks regarding Doc Rivers' potential move to the Los Angeles Clippers began, the assumption was always that if the head coach goes, Kevin Garnett wouldn't be far behind.
The first part of that equation came to fruition on Sunday, when the Clips and Boston Celtics agreed in principle to send Rivers to Los Angeles, per Jackie MacMullan of ESPN:
Sources confirmed on Sunday that the Clippers will sign Rivers to a three-year, $21 million contract. They will send a 2015 first-round pick as compensation to the 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.
However, it appears David Stern and the NBA aren't ready to allow any following transactions between the teams, meaning Garnett is stuck in Boston.
CBS Sports' Ken Berger and ESPN's Marc Stein have the details:
The NBA will not approve any subsequent exchange of players between the Clippers and Celtics this summer, and the teams understand that.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) June 23, 2013
To reiterate: All indications are NBA WILL approve LAC deal for Doc Rivers. But all indications also are any KG-to-Clips trade gets blocked— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 23, 2013
And here's why: Teams can't put players in transaction for a coach. NBA sees KG being dealt to Clips, now or later, as part of same Doc deal— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 23, 2013
KG has been vital to the Celtics' success for the past six seasons, and there is certainly no bad blood between the two sides.
However, if the C's are intent on rebuilding—and it seems highly likely that is now the case—Garnett won't want to stick around for that.
Although there's little question he would be a tremendous mentor to younger players, the 37-year-old doesn't have many more seasons under his belt and seemingly wouldn't want to spend them on a team concentrating on the future rather than the present.
However, Stein offers up a potential detour around this slight blockade:
Will Celts & Clips pursue three-team (or more) trades that win NBA's blessing to land KG in LA? Who'd guess "no" after week we've just seen?— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 24, 2013
Garnett's current contract will pay him around $11.5 million in 2013-14 and $12 million in 2014-15 before he becomes a free agent.
According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, however, there is a belief he will only play one more year before returning to the team that drafted him in some capacity:
Garnett has two years, $24.4 million left on his Celtics deal, but there's a growing belief that he'll play one more season before retiring and joining his old coach, Flip Saunders, with a ceremonial role in Minnesota Timberwolves ownership, league sources told Y! Sports.
"The opportunity will be there for him," one source said, "but there's nothing decided yet."
Whose jersey do you think Garnett will be wearing at the start of the 2013-14 season?
With the Celtics looking to shed money, and KG looking to be part of a contender, it was always believed that there was essentially no chance he would be in Boston next season.
It will be intriguing to see if the Clippers and Celtics can find a way around this. Otherwise, we may see a very unhappy Garnett next season.