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David Stern shoots down Clippers/Celtics trade as constructed

Jun 20, 2013, 3:40 PM EDT

File photo of NBA Commissioner Stern speaks in New York Reuters

There are two key rules in play here.

One, you can’t trade a player for a coach. That is not actually in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (according to Larry Coon, CBA expert), the document doesn’t mention the idea at all, but the league is saying since it is not outlined as permitted it is not allowed.

Two, you can’t have any side, wink-wink deals tied to a trade. That is clearly laid out in the document.

So the Clippers can’t just throw two first round picks as compensation for Doc Rivers as part of a DeAndre Jordan for Kevin Garnett trade, as has been proposed and the teams had basically agreed to.

NBA Commissioner David Stern himself shot the idea down on ESPN Radio in New York, as transcribed by Ken Berger of

“The teams are aware that the collective bargaining agreement doesn’t authorize trades involving coaches’ contracts…

“The teams know that,” Stern said. “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,” Stern said.

That leaves the Clippers and Celtics trying to find a workaround. The Celtics don’t want Doc Rivers to leave them as coach and head to another team without compensation, but how to get that to pass muster with the league remains a real sticking point now.

This is different then when Stern blocked the trade of Chris Paul to the Lakers — at that time he was acting as the defacto owner of the Hornets (remember George Shinn sold the team to the league which sold it a year later to Tom Benson, the trade was proposed while the team was in the league’s control). This time he’s acting as commissioner. Not that many people are going to make that distinction.

  1. htownred34 - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    Not sure if they will still talk

    • fanofevilempire - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:55 PM

      CP3 is calling the shots, this trade is going down.

  2. bougin89 - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    “Two, you can’t have any side, wink-wink deals tied to a trade. That is clearly laid out in the document.”

    I believe this is the biggest rule that is holding this up especially with all the reports of Pierce being bought out and then signing with the Clippers. Too many transactions without a clear “we’re giving you this for exactly this” documented on paper.

  3. gmsingh123 - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    David Stern shot it down? Why didn’t he have Joey Crawford do it for him?

  4. zacksdad - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    Wow with this Stern may actually hurt the Clippers chance of resigning CP3. He did such a good job for Sterling building this team and now he breaking it up.

  5. ndrocks2 - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    This confirms my suspicion that Stern hates CP3 first no trade allowed to the Lakers and now this.

    • paleihe - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:19 PM

      This has nothing to do with CP3. It’s all about the way the deals are structured.

    • albertmn - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:23 PM

      It confirms that Stern is a tool. He is more concerned with flexing his power than with anything else. Classic overcompensation.

      • xeno75 - Jun 20, 2013 at 6:38 PM

        It just shows Stern wont allow trades that are illegal by the leagues rulebook.

      • Anoesis - Jun 20, 2013 at 8:31 PM

        The Lakers’ attempted trade for Paul from NO was legal and Stern shot that down. All this proves is that he is consistently inconsistent.

  6. allen227 - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    I’ll be glad when he gets out of the nba. He’s ruining it.

    • andyhr17 - Jun 20, 2013 at 6:43 PM

      By enforcing agreed upon rules?

  7. stephenolszewski - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    As long as both teams agree to it and salaries match what’s the big deal?

    • money2long - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:17 PM

      other whining owners like cuban and gilbert during the voided cp3 trade

    • xeno75 - Jun 20, 2013 at 6:39 PM

      it’s illegal by the rules. that’s the big deal.

      • paleihe - Jun 20, 2013 at 6:59 PM

        I don’t understand why people don’t understand this.

        It’s an illegal trade. Stern is essentially the league referee. If you double-dribble, the refs calls the violation. Based on the CBA, this trade that Doc is in the middle of, is a violation. So it’s being called.

        It’s not a conspiracy. It’s against the rules. The ref is doing his job.

    • ludachrisgsx - Jun 21, 2013 at 11:50 AM

      The problem is that Stern has opened the door to a conflict of interest when he acted as the owner of the Hornets and vetoed the CP3/Lakers trade, which was completely legal. And now, by coincidence, he is shooting down another major trade involving the team CP3 was eventually traded to, deeming it illegal. The situations are completely different, as is the role Stern is playing in each (CP3 being the common factor). But that won’t prevent people from getting the feeling he’s meddling. He created this distrust himself. No matter how clearly the rules state that the Celtics/Clippers deal is illegal, the moment he shot it down publicly he opened the door to the previous vetoed deal that was so questionable.

  8. bowltr - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    Why is Stern such a sphincter? What an arrogant pr!ck that guy is. Look both teams want to do it so let it be done. What’s the big f**kin deal. So trading for a coach is not clearly spelled out in the CBA so it’s not allowed? Does the CBA state a player can drink Gatoraid during a game? If not let’s bar the doors on the Gatoraid………….oh wait can’t do that they pay league league $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.
    David you sanctimonious pr!ck retire already!

    • wlubake - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:34 PM

      Stern works for the owners. Thus, the owners are sphincters. They don’t want trade rules to run wild and throw off the competitive balance of the league. Thus, you set rules and hire someone to enforce them.

      • dannymac17 - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:46 PM

        did you just say competitive balance in the league? har har har

      • bowltr - Jun 20, 2013 at 6:53 PM

        There are no rules forbidding the trading of a coach. There just are not rules that allow it. In other word David Sphincter is making it up as he goes along.

      • sunlightpianist - Jun 20, 2013 at 8:44 PM

        @bowltr The NBA always said the rules are a positive-list of things teams are allowed to do. Any other trade is forbidden.

        If you allow trading for coaches, it could help to tamper with the salary cap.

        The Clippers and the Celtics can still find a way to make it possible.

    • paleihe - Jun 20, 2013 at 6:01 PM

      Relax. Stern is doing his job, which is to enforce the rules.

      Rivers can still coach the Clippers if he really wants. All he has to do is quit the Celtics, sign a 3 year/21 million deal with the Clips. Ends up being the same thing.

      • Anoesis - Jun 20, 2013 at 8:35 PM

        Except for one teeny, tiny fly in that ointment: The Celtics won’t let him walk away for nothing, as he’s still under contract.

    • xeno75 - Jun 20, 2013 at 6:43 PM

      ok, so if you allow any trade that is not written down as illegal, can one team trade some player for CP3 and then trade for a draft pick offering a 100 million dollar firm?

  9. stadix093 - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    Basketball Reasons

  10. micknangold - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    How could you possibly think Gatorade is spelled “Gatoraid”?

    • fanofevilempire - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      I hate the spelling police.

    • bowltr - Jun 20, 2013 at 6:55 PM

      My apologies. I’m sure down in the depths of you mothers basement spell check works better on your computer that it does mine. I will now go slice off my fingers as not to offend you again with an incorrect spelling.

      • badintent - Jun 21, 2013 at 2:21 AM

        Spelling Police =Guys who can’t ball. but great at picking their nose.

  11. dolphindubs - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    My favorite is purple gatoraid

    • badintent - Jun 21, 2013 at 2:23 AM

      I like the Blue Crush. It makes my tongue Blue and you knows what happens when you stick that blue thing out at club hoes. !LOL

  12. breastfedted - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    The NBA is fixed

    • cantonbound13 - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:04 PM

      Stern won’t allow anyone to get better than the Heat. That’s why CP3 wasn’t allowed to go to the Lakers & now this.

  13. wfriedrichs - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    Stern allowed Miami to offer the Knicks compensation so Pat Riley could Mo e from the Knicks to the Heat. David Stern is piece of crap.

    • obnoxioushack - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      That was 18 years ago and under a completely different CBA. Plus the Heat only were able to offer compensation after the Knicks accused them of tampering.

      • ludachrisgsx - Jun 21, 2013 at 12:12 PM

        Yet still on Stern’s watch. Another reason why people question his ruling – he isn’t consistent.

  14. crimepedrankings - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    Aren’t there people in these orgs that are supposed to know these rules??

  15. dolphindubs - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:51 PM


    Different CBA. Different rules, regulations, and stipulations.

  16. themike31 - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    So why can’t it just be Garnett and Pierce for Jordan and 2 firsts?

    Then say “By the way Doc, you’re fired. And the Clippers are on line 2.”

    • xeno75 - Jun 20, 2013 at 6:45 PM

      “The teams know that,” Stern said. “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,” Stern said.

    • Anoesis - Jun 20, 2013 at 8:42 PM

      Garnett has said he won’t play for anyone but Rivers, thus inextricably (and inadvertently?) linking them in any deal.

      Seems to me the Celtics could include a minor player in order to justify the Clips sending two picks along in the deal. I’m sure that there has been discussion along those lines. Then Rivers “negotiates” out of his Boston contract and signs a new one with L.A. Again, I’m sure scenarios such as these are being worked on right now.

      So far all that has happened is that the teams involved have merely confirmed that Stern won’t let them do it the easy way.

  17. jkaflagg - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    Stern says the teams were aware, so….why have we been hearing about this proposed deal all week?

    • azarkhan - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:20 PM

      Excellent question. Apparently both teams “have known for some time already” that the proposed deal would not be permitted.

    • xeno75 - Jun 20, 2013 at 6:46 PM

      it generates clicks…

  18. steelers4385 - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    Stern takes it so deep, that he his peers like to call him the abyss.

  19. sdemp - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    The NBA is fixed and that includes transactions as well as games.

    David Stern blows. . . I can’t think of 1 good thing he has done for the game of basketball.


    • paleihe - Jun 20, 2013 at 6:06 PM

      Do you remember where the NBA was before Stern took over? Do you know where it is now? Yeah, he’s helped spearhead that.

      If the NBA is fixed, stop watched.

      • paleihe - Jun 20, 2013 at 6:06 PM

        *stop watching.

      • Anoesis - Jun 20, 2013 at 8:45 PM

        Magic and Bird resurrected the league. Stern’s a lawyer, so I prefer to give him as little credit as possible. Has he helped the league make lots more money? Sure. Has he improved the quality of the game? Not directly, no. He used to listen to real basketball people’s suggestions, but lately he seems to have become quite the dictator.

  20. jj871 - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    Stern is the Joey Crawford ic league officials … He loves stealing the show.

  21. thetooloftools - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    Where the hell was Stern when Miami stacked the deck? What an ass.

    • Kurt Helin - Jun 20, 2013 at 6:30 PM

      Miami did it fully within league rules. Any team could have done that, only one team did.

      • bougin89 - Jun 20, 2013 at 8:15 PM

        The sign and trades and resigning Wade was all legal under that CBA and it’s not illegal for players to recruit players, even while under contract with other teams, so everything was legal. Was it kinda shady and did it completely wreck the competitive balance of the league? My answer to that(not that it’s worth much) is absolutely yes.

  22. bbk1000 - Jun 20, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    Gotta love Stern. worried about trades while the finals appear fixed…..

  23. lakerluver - Jun 20, 2013 at 9:51 PM

    We all know Doc is going to the Clips! CP3 wants it, Doc wants it and the Clips want it. Doc has come too far to turn back now, not that he wants to anyway. I know pro sports are a business but I still think it’s kinda “shady” on Doc’s part to leave Boston as soon as they’re no longer a contender. Why did he sign such a long contract to begin with?

  24. watchfullhose - Jun 20, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    Fu ck David Stern. He has the world’s worst pen!s envy known to man.

  25. kb2408 - Jun 20, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    Doc will be the Clipper’s coach no later than Monday, and probably as early as Saturday. The league is just waiting until the Finals are done.

    • ludachrisgsx - Jun 21, 2013 at 12:19 PM

      That’s what everyone was saying about the CP3 to the Lakers deal even after Stern vetoed it. If that situations proved anything, it’s that once he speaks, it’s over. The deal won’t happen now because it would undermine his perceived power. Boston wants compensation for Rivers, and Stern says that can’t happen. End of story, unless Boston caves and decides to just let Rivers walk away.

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