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Report: Clippers, Celtics trying to work out Garnett trade league will approve

Jun 20, 2013, 1:51 PM EDT

Celtics forward Garnett and head coach Rivers react to a foul called on Garnett in the second half of their NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks in Atlanta. Reuters

UPDATE 1:50 pm: The Clippers and Celtics are actively talking about the trade on Thursday, but now they have a new issue — one that will pass muster with the league.

You cannot trade for a coach. You cannot have side deals or contingencies as part of a trade. There are some precedents of compensation being sent to teams who let a coach go and he signs with another team, but the Clippers can’t just send a couple picks along with Kevin Garnett that clears the way for the Clippers to sign Doc Rivers after the Celtics release him. And breaking this up into a couple deals doesn’t pass the smell test with the league, either (they’re not stupid).

The two sides are trying to figure out a different way to structure the deal that works for everyone and passes muster with the league. And it’s not going to be simple, this deal is going to get massaged pretty well to make it happen.

2:21 am: Not only is the Clippers/Celtics trade back from the dead (don’t say I didn’t warn you) it looks like it could come together Thursday.

If Clippers owner Donald Sterling signs off on it this deal could come together Thursday reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

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. Sterling met with Clippers coaching candidate Brian Shaw, an Indiana Pacers assistant coach, on Wednesday night.

The deal would bring Kevin Garnett and the right to sign coach Doc Rivers to the Clippers in exchange for DeAndre Jordan and two first round picks, according to multiple reports. The picks are essentially compensation for Rivers, who would walk away from the three remaining years on his Celtics contract to sign a five-year, $35 million deal with the Clippers (technically coaches cannot be traded so this is the workaround).

Paul Pierce would not be part of this deal, however after the KG and Rivers moves the Celtics would buy Pierce out of his contract (the team can buy out the final year and $15 million of his deal for just $5 million before July 1). After that Pierce would be a free agent expected to sign with the Clippers.

You can say with this move Chris Paul is a lock to re-sign with the Clippers, but he was already going to do that. That said, with this he’s gotten what he wants — veteran roster ready to compete to be playing next June.

Rivers met with Celtics GM Danny Ainge on Wednesday and in the conversation Rivers reportedly emphasized his desire to coach a contender, not stick around through a rebuilding process. Even if the Celtics brought Garnett, Pierce and Rivers back they are not contenders in the East.

If this goes down, the Celtics move on to a complete rebuilding process, likely around Rajon Rondo, but who knows how far they strip it down.

With those three the Clippers instantly get better but much older. Garnett would bring stability to a Clippers defense that needs it, Rivers a more polished hand at the helm.

The Clippers would be title contenders next season (if they can stay healthy) but with a one year, two tops window. Then things would need to be rebuilt.

Donald Sterling wasn’t the kind of owner who a few years back would have paid $7 million a year for a coach or signed off on a deal like this. But the man clearly is willing to spend a little to win and with his nod the Clippers will be in the mix for it all next season.

  1. kinggw - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:38 AM

    Now that Doc and Garnett appear to be on their way to LA, you have to wonder if Howard is next.

    • rushbacker - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:06 AM

      No you don’t.

      • spursareold - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:17 PM

        Lakers can’t do a sign and trade this summer. The new CBA is finally showing it’s teeth this summer, when new tax provisions kick in.

    • fanofevilempire - Jun 20, 2013 at 7:36 AM

      I hope the Lakers sign and trade Howard for Blake and Bledsoe, let Kobe stay
      out as long as needed. I try top make a few signings in 2014.
      I don’t think the Clippers would be the best in a loaded west anyway.

      • bougin89 - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:19 AM


        I didn’t reply to your comment…

      • polonelmeagrejr - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:59 PM

        fanofevilempire. I believe bougin89 is giving you the silent treatment.That said – Doc Rivers is one dang goood coach. one of few who can make a difference in a teams fortunes.

      • spursareold - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:18 PM

        Lakers can’t do a sign and trade this summer. The new CBA is finally showing it’s teeth this summer, when new tax provisions kick in.

    • bougin89 - Jun 20, 2013 at 9:53 AM


      • fanofevilempire - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:14 AM

        what, here, you tell me.

        San Antonio
        Golden State

      • fanofevilempire - Jun 20, 2013 at 11:54 AM

        Bougin89, my bad.
        just wanted to point out the west is loaded.
        no harm no foul.

      • bougin89 - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:24 PM

        No worries.

  2. scalfor3 - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:13 AM

    Best case scenario for the Celtics. Rondo strategically Derrick Roses it next year and is extra cautious with his return from knee surgery. Without Rondo, KG and Pierce, the team could be bad enough to land in the Andrew Wiggins lottery (the team would basically be Jeff Green, DeAndre Jordan, and a few spare parts and role players).

    Yes, I’m advocating tanking. The faster we get really bad, the faster we will have a chance to get to contender level again.

  3. norvturnersneck - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:44 AM

    Isn’t Howard already in LA?

    • dannymac17 - Jun 20, 2013 at 7:32 AM

      color kinggw surprised

  4. bigwii - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:46 AM

    If the Celtics were smart they would save Pierce for a draft day trade to see what they can get for him. I’m sure there’s a contender out there that would trade for him.

    • xliontamer - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:21 AM

      I think Pierce being let go may a ‘nod and a wink’ portion of this deal. We’ll see what happens, but I just don’t see why the Clippers do this deal without knowing they are going to get Pierce.

    • casualcommenter - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:09 AM

      There are plenty of teams that would like to have Pierce but at nowhere near $15 million.

    • deadeyedesign23 - Jun 20, 2013 at 8:57 AM

      I think they want to shed salary so trading Pierce would mean taking back a contract approaching 15 million.

  5. moseskkim - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:47 AM

    This would be a major upgrade for the clipps. PP is wayyy better than Caron and old Garnett is wayyyy better than jordan. Jordan is a good player but wasn’t counted upon much and at this point is a lob/put back player. The chip window would be a couple years but I don’t see how they lose that window totally if u have cp3 and Blake griffin. But yeah if this trade goes down and pp comes and Bledsoe for afflalo (clipps get robbed in this hypo trade IMO), cp3, afflalo, pp, griffin,kg ouch.

  6. rickyspanish - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:55 AM

    “Don’t say I didn’t warn you”? What happened to it being a “long shot”? Funny you’d link us to the post where you told us so, but not to the post where you shot it down. Accountability please.

    • Kurt Helin - Jun 22, 2013 at 12:21 PM

      And in the end…. wow, who could have seen that coming?

  7. ike73 - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:40 AM

    Terrible deal for the celtics. The whole team is decimated and you get DeAndre Jordan and two late first round picks? Ouch. Jordan is just terrible. Even Chris Paul couldn’t get anything out of him. Talk about ending this era with a whimper.

    If Sterling doesn’t sign off on this he’s even crazier than I thought.

  8. jbeagles23 - Jun 20, 2013 at 7:48 AM

    The clippers are shooting themselves in the foot. We’ve seen with the heat in 2011 and the lakers this year that bringing so much talent together takes time. And garnet and peirce don’t have time on their side

    • deadeyedesign23 - Jun 20, 2013 at 8:58 AM

      Well I mean the Heat did go to the 6th game of the finals in their first year together. When was the last time the Clippers did that?

    • jameskocian - Jun 20, 2013 at 9:54 AM

      Personally I can’t stand the Heat, sans Ray Allen.

      But 3 consecutive Finals appearances isn’t exactly “shooting yourself in the foot.”

      ‘Shooting the ball in the basket’ maybe…

    • fanofevilempire - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:18 AM

      the Lakers did this twice and came up empty with Karl and the Glove and then Nash and Howard, I know Howard is Big but I don’t know if he has ” it ” let the Clips try we will take
      back Blake and Bledsoe in a sign and trade and wait for a healthy Mamba.

      • spursareold - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:19 PM

        Lakers can’t do a sign and trade this summer. The new CBA is finally showing it’s teeth this summer, when new tax provisions kick in.

  9. jamieaadams - Jun 20, 2013 at 8:06 AM

    Decent trade for the Celtics. It’s tough seeing these guys go, but this gives the re-build a boost.

    On a tangent, but does Chris Paul STILL want me to believe he had nothing to do with Vinny Del Negro getting the ax?

  10. paulhargis53 - Jun 20, 2013 at 8:28 AM

    Fan, that isn’t happening. But I hope it does too, lakers would be dumb to take Blake back. It hamstrings your “grand plan” of getting max players( which ain’t happening anyway). But you seem to not understand the machinations of the new cba. Read up on it son.

  11. loungefly74 - Jun 20, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    Gotta hand it to the Clips…going all in for a chance to hang their first banner.

    Really interested to see what happens with Dwight Howard and his involvement with the Clips…

    I do disagree with the statement that if the C’s kept Doc, KG, and PP that they would not be contenders…I think they would be (for 1 more year..heck, isn’t that why the Clips are making this trade?). You never know who else on the C’s roster would step up.

    • 1historian - Jun 20, 2013 at 9:14 AM

      This is a no-brainer for the Celts and the Clips are taking an awfully big chance that Garnett has another year left in him and the same with Pierce. They’re trading their future for one big shot at the title. Not a good idea IMO, but if they insist the Celts will gladly accommodate them.

      • 00maltliquor - Jun 20, 2013 at 11:43 AM

        I think the Celtics are getting screwed. AND their top 3 coach! Psssh. So lemme get this straight: Doc, KG, Truth (eventually) for DeAndre “can’t shoot, shoot free throw or play in late game situations, grossly overpaid” Jordan and a couple of #25+ draft picks? Ummm……..

  12. addict2sport - Jun 20, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    Trade in your Lob City shirts for Wheelchair City shirts once Pierce comes to town.

  13. joshm5683 - Jun 20, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    As far as the statement that Sterling didn’t pay 7m for coaches in years past. Didn’t he shell out more than that for Mike Dunleavy a few years ago?

    • shanelsweet - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:13 AM

      That contract was 5 years for $22M. This proposed Rivers contract is 5 years for $35M. So, no, he didn’t shell out more for Dunleavy. Sterling clearly didn’t choose to pay Dunleavy more. That’s why he and Dunleavy wound up fighting over money after Dunleavy left.

  14. reesesteel23 - Jun 20, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    These two are still under contract. KG is on Docs coattail. Doc keeps flip-flopping like Brett Favre. Pierce is getting the boot. Lebron left as a free agent. See what happens when you don’t leave under your own terms?

    Will the fans be upset and hold management responsible? I think not

    Meanwhile Ray Allen isn’t finished adding to his already lengthy resume

  15. andyreidisfat - Jun 20, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    If this deal gets done the clips are stupid. Why would you trade young players for old players and why would you trade picks for a coach who won one title with at the time a super team in their prime. Not saying doc isn’t a good coach, I am sure he is. But two first round picks for any coach not pop or Jackson is silly

    • bougin89 - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:01 AM

      I think you are right to question trading 1st round picks and a young(albeit frustrating) Deandre Jordan to get a lot older but I think you are selling Doc Rivers a little short. He’s a very good tactician as a coach and is one of the best at calling a TO and drawing up an offensive play that works.

    • realfootballfan - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:20 AM

      Who young are they really trading? Jordan’s overrated butt? They’ve pulled off a coup if they have managed to not have to include Bledsoe.

      This draft is weak as water, so the only thing they’re potentially going to be missing is next year’s draft pick, which would be a moot point if they’re going deep into the playoffs. Strike while the iron is hot. They’re instant favorites if they pull this off since the Boston duo with Rhondo gave the Heat all they could handle a year ago, so imagine it with Paul and Griffin playing next to them.

      Hell has officially frozen over if the Clippers can win an NBA championship.

    • shanelsweet - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      Sterling is cheap, or so folks claim. Not having to pay 2 low, low first rounds picks to sit on the bench while the team contends for the title is part of the allure of this deal. Chris Paul is going to get his shot to win titles with veterans just like LeBron. If you don’t like that plan, then become a fan of the Spurs or anyone of several other old school build through the draft type of teams. I prefer to trust that Chris, Kevin and Paul know exactly what type of veteran teammates they need to add to the mix with Dwight in order to contend for a ring.

      • bougin89 - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:27 PM

        Rookie contracts are ideal for cheap owners and almost every salary cap situation(apparently not for the Mavs though).

    • 00maltliquor - Jun 20, 2013 at 11:49 AM

      To respond to this I’m going to re-post my comment that got blocked yesterday…

      The asking price is reasonably low. Jordan is way overpaid and underplayed and has the same amount of years as Garnett, who would be more useful, even at his old age.

      Plus what’s a pair of 1st round picks when you’re gonna be a top 5 team for at least a couple of years. Pick #25+ for 2 years to have Doc coach is worth it alone, let alone to get someone you can play late in games down the stretch that can hit free throws and play D.

      And no Bledsoe in the deal? Just Jordan and a couple of 1sties? I would’ve agreed to that deal yesterday. Once that happens they are in full on re-build mode so they will cut Pierce for 5 mill for sure. Then pick him up. As much as he loves BOS, he’s an LA guy who would love to win one more with his coach and best bud, in his hometown.

      And to those who are saying that they are sacrificing their future for the short term: SO WHAT. This team has been GARBAGE for waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long. When you got a shot at a championship, you go for it!!! That’s what this game is all about in the end anyways! I would take a championship if it meant 5 bad years vs. no championship but the teams been solid for 5 years any day.

    • remmsterr - Jun 20, 2013 at 1:40 PM

      Only coach worth draft picks, IMO would be Pop in San Antonio. Doc just isn’t a coach that can build up and coach up a team in my eyes. He toiled away with one and dones in Orlando, stunk it up in Boston until Ainge pulled out the deal of the century for both Allen and Garnett. Let’s wait and sew how long Doc stays with the Clips once Garnett and Pierce can’t contribute anymore any they’re again rebuilding in LA. Trading away your future just isn’t worth it, on the Clipper’s end.

  16. readysethike - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    thats sad. Blake and Deandre are bestfriends. one of them will be crying

    • 00maltliquor - Jun 20, 2013 at 11:53 AM

      I know! Remember both Blake and DeAndre squealing in excitement claiming “Lob City” upon learning of the trade for Paul!? CP3 just essentially told Clippers management to trade him asap for the Celtics package. If this trade doesn’t go down things will be real awkward.

  17. mat9844 - Jun 20, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    Whoever ends up as coach of the Clippers should remember that the Clippers have, arguably, one of the biggest and most devoted fan bases in the NBA. We come out every night during the entire season to support our team. They’re fun and entertaining to watch. I realize the goal of every team is to make the finals, but it’s also to be there every night for the millions of devoted fans. The Clippers have done that. You can tweak their performance and make them better players, but don’t mess with the dynamics of the team. That’s what makes them so great.

    • zacksdad - Jun 20, 2013 at 11:49 AM

      Wow, I heard fans are crazy. But stating “That’s what makes them so great” when the Clippers have had only two of years. Both of these decent years are because they have CP3. CP3 has seen the history of Sterling and is making sure he does not repeat his track record. If you do not do this trade, CP3 is gone and you will be back to the regular Sterling teams. Even Sterling needs to thank Stern for giving him CP3 and other players he now has.

    • asimonetti88 - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:17 PM

      “the Clippers have, arguably, one of the biggest and most devoted fan bases in the NBA”

      Don’t take this as a shot at Clippers fans, because it’s not, and it’s hard to argue that the fans that actually did follow the Clippers since the Loy Vaught and Mo Taylor days aren’t among the most devoted, but “biggest fanbase”? Let’s be real- even with the recent success, they still have to hold ridiculous promotions like free meals to fill the building.

      • 00maltliquor - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:38 PM

        “Vaught from his spot”!

        PS- Even when he was with the team, it was never a Mo Taylor era (or “days”).

        LOL @ the Clippers/ “biggest fanbase” comment. I probably know more Clippers history, been to more Clippers games (and I stayed all the way through till the final buzzer, every time), and cheered harder when at the games then these new Clips fans out there….and I’m not even a Clipper fan!

  18. soundsofsuccess7 - Jun 20, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    That is a terrible, terrible deal for the Celtics.

    Smh, two least favorite teams, I guess I’m bound to be unhappy.

    • spursareold - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:23 PM

      Maybe this year, but you’re getting (or at least asking for) Jordan and two first round picks for a couple of NBA senior citizens who have one maybe two years left. It’s definitely a good kickstart on your inevitable re-build.

  19. bowmanj35 - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    what I haven’t seen much of is what this means for the Dwight Howard sweeps… so much for paul and d-wizzle together in the ATL. LOL.

  20. albanyjints - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    Hope the Celtics continue the salary dump and open up enough room to make a play for Lebron when he wants out of Miami the year after next. Lebron and Rondo = more banners in the rafters.

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