For now, there’s no deal between the Los Angeles Clippers, moving on to interview head coaches rather than getting Doc Rivers, and the Boston Celtics, who offered Kevin Garnett in the package, but the exchange value of DeAndre Jordan and two first round picks became too much and shot the trade down.
And yet, when it was one first round pick and the same variables, the Clippers were all for it. Considering that the arrival of Garnett and Rivers might be the final move the Clippers need to make in order to get Chris Paul to re-sign with them on a five-year deal, isn’t having a team that has a legitimate shot in the West and probably won’t be getting too much out of their first round picks a better chance to be taking on?
Not everyone is the Los Angeles Lakers, who never think about the future, and simply make moves in order to be competitive now. It seemed like the Clippers were headed in that direction. They hardly have any young, developing players on their team. Blake Griffin is the outstanding case when they’re concerned, while DeAndre Jordan, also in the early stages of his NBA career, isn’t bound to get a lot better unless he finds himself on a team with a very strong development program.
The Clippers have a window to be a serious force in the West for a few more years, even with Garnett in the final year or two of his career, carrying almost $25 million with him as he arrives. Garnett gives the Clippers a better big man than DeAndre Jordan on both ends of the floor, and someone a lot more versatile that gives them a lot more option to work with.
Yes, it clogs the cap space, but with Paul getting a maximum deal anyway, and paying the luxury tax suddenly not such a big problem for Sterling if it means having a team that’s actually disappointed by getting knocked out in the first round of the playoffs, pulling the trigger on this deal and getting the better player in it seems like a risk worth taking for the Clippers, who don’t have such a higher ceiling if they get to keep those draft picks.
So what now? The Clippers are going to interview head coaches – Brian Shaw, Byron Scott (who has already worked with Paul and the two might not be each other’s biggest fan) and Lionel Hollins, and make a decision in the next few days, which also means that Denver will probably pick up one of the two that’s left without a job.
As for the Celtics, Doc Rivers, who isn’t too thrilled on spending another season as head coach with the current roster for a few reasons, also fearing being left with Rajon Rondo and no one else in a rebuilding project, will go and sit with Danny Ainge, who’ll have to make the right assurances and promises in order to convince Rivers to enter another season with the Celtics feeling he’s not wasting his time.