It’s been quite a back and forth saga between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Boston Celtics regarding the big trade they want to pull off, involving DeAndre Jordan and two first-round draft picks going one way, while Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett head the other. As of now, the deal is still alive, but with a few more obstacles in its way.
One of them is Donald Sterling himself. He has been meeting with head coaches over the last few days, and the negotiations were actually stopped on Wednesday so he could have his face-to-face with Brian Shaw. However, Chris Paul is pushing for the Clippers to take their big gamble on Doc Rivers, which probably is the main reason for the deal being back on the table.
So if Sterling finally agrees that Rivers is actually the right man for the job, this means two separate deals take place – DeAndre Jordan is swapped straight up for Kevin Garnett, and another deal, of Doc Rivers being released from his contract with the Boston Celtics and the Clippers giving up two first round draft picks for him, takes place as well.
Problem? The teams need to convince the league that the deals aren’t contingent upon each other. Side agreements or contingencies are illegal in any kind of NBA trade or free agency signing, and teams can only give up cash considerations or draft picks in order to acquire a head coach that’s under contract.
This means that before that trade and draft picks-for-coach deals go through, the teams have to convince the NBA this isn’t just one deal masquerading as a few separate pieces coming together behind the scenes.
This is all done not just for the sake of Garnett and Rivers, but especially for Chris Paul. The Clippers are even entertaining the idea of trading Blake Griffin, along with Eric Bledsoe, if it gets them Dwight Howard, which would make Chris Paul very happy. The Clippers need him to sign an extension, and are hoping that everything they’ve been doing since getting knocked out of the playoffs by the Memphis Grizzlies is enough to please their All-Star point guard.
But the Clippers aren’t done yet, hoping that Paul Pierce, once he sees Garnett and Rivers leaving, will push for his own release from the team. The Celtics need to decide by June 30 if they’re picking up Pierce’s $15.3 million deal for next season, or buy his contract out for $5 million, making him a free agent.
The Celtics are hoping they can actually trade Pierce before the deadline to another team, which will enjoy getting rid of $10 million from the cap space. Considering that without Rivers and Garnett the Celtics are officially entering rebuilding mode, probably around Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce is going to try and find himself off the team, giving himself another shot at some playoffs and championships during his final days in the NBA.
If he is going to try and find himself playing for a contender, he’ll likely have to give up a lot of money to make sure he doesn’t find himself on a team not going too far next season.