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Report: Clippers nearing agreement with Celtics on a deal that would allow them to hire Doc Rivers

Jun 23, 2013, 5:19 PM EDT

Boston Celtics v New Orleans Hornets Getty Images

The on-again, off-again talks between the Clippers and the Celtics to free Doc Rivers from his contract in Boston so he can coach in Los Angeles are back, and this time the teams appear to be closer than ever on making it happen.

Whether or not the league will allow it is another question entirely, and then there’s the fact that any deal for Rivers would strongly jeopardize the Clippers’ ability to then go out and try to get Kevin Garnett or Paul Pierce.

First, the latest news.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

The Los Angeles Clippers are nearing an agreement to send a future first-round draft pick to the Boston Celtics for the rights to hire coach Doc Rivers, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Talks started again on Sunday when the Clippers offered the Celtics a first-round pick to free Rivers from his contract with Boston, sources said.

Rivers and the Clippers are working on the language of a five-year, $35 million contract, and no agreement will be in place until those details are finalized, sources said.

A first-round draft pick may seem like too high a price for a tenured head coach, even one as proven as Rivers. But remember, Chris Paul has yet to declare his intentions in free agency, and even though it’s highly likely he returns to the Clippers thanks to all of the money he would need to pass up to play elsewhere, the franchise’s bumbling over this whole process wasn’t the best way to go about securing his return.

Now, the fun part.

Even if the teams finally do reach an agreement, there’s no guarantee the league will sign off on it. While no players are involved this time around, David Stern has already said that teams can’t trade a head coach’s contract, and if a deal to acquire Garnett should be attempted to follow this one, it’s far from a sure thing that it would be allowed by the commissioner’s office, as Ken Berger of reminds us.

In the NBA’s view, nothing has changed regarding a Doc Rivers compensation deal. It’s not allowed to be attached to players, period.

League office will take a skeptical view of any Rivers transaction, sources say. Will be hard to sell as separate from player discussions.

If the Clippers have to choose between Rivers and aging players like Garnett and/or Pierce, taking the coach is right decision. But for now, we’re once again left waiting to see if this deal eventually gets completed with the NBA’s blessing.

  1. pistol7pete - Jun 23, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    A near second round draft pick for Doc sounds like a steal for the Clips

    • andyhr17 - Jun 23, 2013 at 5:50 PM

      It’s the Clippers, don’t put them in the Finals yet.

      • jcmeyer10 - Jun 23, 2013 at 8:27 PM

        Thank you. Clippers fan shouldn’t expect Griffin to take the next step because Doc don’t do that.

  2. sire2334 - Jun 23, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    First of all…WTH? Second why are we acting like he’s the greatest coach ever. I’m not “hating” but what exactly had he done before their big 3, and what has he done after they’ve split.

    This dude had a chamionship team fall in his lap. Just sayin. But hey, go get paid Doc.

    • kuckamorris - Jun 23, 2013 at 6:06 PM

      Agreed. I think he is overrated as a coach and this is coming from a Celtics fan.

      But he is a “players coach” and keeps those star players happy. If the Clippers didn’t have CP3 being so vocal about acquiring him then there is no way this goes down.

    • jcmeyer10 - Jun 23, 2013 at 8:29 PM

      Dude was a .500 coach who didn’t develop talent. Went to basketball-reference just to make sure I wasn’t pure hatin’.

  3. BigBeachBall - Jun 23, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    Where do u want to work?

    Thats the question rivers was asked by the celts…

    • kuckamorris - Jun 23, 2013 at 6:13 PM

      I don’t think the Celtics care that much about where Doc wants to work. If anything they’d have to care move about where KG wants to play since he has a no trade clause.

      It’s just convenient that KG lives in LA and LA wants Doc.

    • Anoesis - Jun 23, 2013 at 7:22 PM

      And the answer was, “Not here.”

  4. JHathwell - Jun 23, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    I understand vetoing any potential KG trade after the Rivers deal takes place, but I don’t see how the league can veto this move in anticipation of a future move. The smart move is to get Rivers and move on from Garnett or Pierce, if need be. IMO, having one of the top 3 coaches in the NBA for 5 years is more important than getting a year or two from KG or PP.

  5. reddolfan66 - Jun 23, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Looks like it went through Clippers new coach

    • Anoesis - Jun 23, 2013 at 7:22 PM

      And that player/”coach” will still be upset if the Clips don’t also get Garnett. Maybe it’s time to give Paul the GM title, too.

  6. gr3710 - Jun 23, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    just because he gets along with the players, doesn’t mean he’s a great coach. very overrated imo

    • eventhorizon04 - Jun 23, 2013 at 7:35 PM

      “Getting star players to like you and buy into your system is harder than it sounds.” Mike D’Antoni

  7. kb2408 - Jun 23, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    The Clips are still the Clips. Maybe he can teach Blake and DeAndre how to play in the post.

  8. paulhargis53 - Jun 23, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    kb: Shut the hell up! Worry about your own pathetic excuse of a team.


  9. Anoesis - Jun 23, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    “In the NBA’s view, nothing has changed regarding a Doc Rivers compensation deal. It’s not allowed to be attached to players, period.

    “League office will take a skeptical view of any Rivers transaction, sources say. Will be hard to sell as separate from player discussions.”

    Isn’t a first-round draft pick as “compensation” a direct attachment to a player? The first thing the league needs to do the minute Stern has retired is find a real attorney to help write their rules. I haven’t seen so many asinine, convoluted and confusing rules that are open to wildly inconsistent interpretation since, oh, the last Congress.

    The Clippers gave the Celtics a draft pick so they’d let Rivers out of his contract. The Clippers then signed him. How does that have anything whatsoever to do with any possible subsequent player trade between the teams?

    Stern might (actually does) run the league with a heavy hand, but, unlike the Pelicans, he doesn’t have trade veto power here except to stick his nose in where it obviously doesn’t belong. Of course, that didn’t stop him in the past.

    • JHathwell - Jun 23, 2013 at 7:59 PM

      Because the original deal was a package. The Clippers and Celtics are supposed to know the rules and they didn’t. Don’t see how you can blame Stern for that. If they had just done this as Rivers for the pick in the first place there wouldnt be a problem, but since they bungled it all up it’s now likely not going to happen.

  10. ivanoiurares40 - Jun 24, 2013 at 6:10 AM

    Reblogged this on TheSlashDash.

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