Sources confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday that the Clippers and Celtics re-engaged in trade talks that would send Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett westward. From colleagues Marc Stein and Ramon Shelburne:
Discussions between the Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics on a deal that would send Kevin Garnett and coach Doc Rivers to Los Angeles resumed Wednesday, just one day after they were declared "off" by both sides, sources told ESPN.
One source close to the talks expressed optimism that a deal could be done as soon as Wednesday night, with the Clippers swapping DeAndre Jordan for Garnett and Boston receiving two first-round draft picks as compensation for Rivers.
As for Wednesday's meeting between Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers:
Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge met Wednesday evening with the hopes of settling the coach's future with the club, sources told ESPN.
Ainge always has made it clear to Rivers that the team's preference is for him to remain as coach, even after negotiations to allow him to leave for the Los Angeles Clippers broke down on Tuesday morning. However, sources with knowledge of Rivers' thinking say the coach remains unsure about remaining in Boston if the team is headed for a rebuilding process.
"He wants another championship or at least another chance at it," a source close to Rivers said. "He doesn't want to go through a rebuilding process."
Rivers' preference, sources said, is to coach next season. He also would have the option of returning to broadcasting if he did not want to continue with the Celtics and an exit to the Clippers could not be facilitated.
The Clippers, while proceeding with second interviews with Byron Scott and Brian Shaw on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, are keeping an eye on the situation, sources with knowledge of the situation said. If Rivers were to inform Ainge he did not want to coach in Boston next season, it would provide the impetus for talks between the teams to resume immediately.
* Rapid reaction: The Clippers -- after walking away from negotiations on Tuesday -- appear to have reached out to the Celtics to restart trade talks and the fact that Boston is listening tells you all you need to know about today's meeting between Rivers and Ainge. Rivers likely remains on the fence about the future direction of the Celtics and -- with the possibility of getting a deal done with Los Angeles back in play -- Ainge now has to re-investigate to see if he can get the assets he desires in order to allow Rivers his coaching freedom.
No ferocious chest pounds. No crazy food analogies. No pregame head-banging on the stanchion. No four-letter expletives picked up by courtside microphones. No more telling Boo Boo to go to bed. No bar fights. No late-game grooving to Gino (someone better send a VHS of that American Bandstand clip to whatever destination he lands in if he does leave town; nothing makes Garnett happier).
Oh sure, we knew this day was coming. Celtics fans were downright paralyzed by the idea that Garnett might retire last offseason, only to dance in the streets to news that he inked a three-year extension.
It was still a year-to-year pact for Garnett, but it seemingly ensured that he would retire in green. Heck, he said as much when -- as rumors swirled about his future before this season's trade deadline -- he announced (unprompted) in early February that, "I just want to say that I love my situation [in Boston] & I bleed green and I continue to do that. And, if it's up to me, then I'm going to retire a Celtic. So I just want everybody to know that, all right?"
Now there's a very real chance that Garnett might retire elsewhere. While Boston's talks with the Clippers appeared to die Tuesday, there's always the chance Garnett is shipped out to facilitate a rebuilding process if the Celtics elect to go in that direction.
It's impossible to overstate what Garnett has meant to the Celtics franchise. His arrival changed virtually everything for a Boston team coming off a dreadful 2006-07 season in which it lost a franchise-record 18 straight games. Garnett embodied the "Ubuntu" team-first mentality that -- five years ago Monday -- left him bellowing, "Anything is possssiiiibbbble!!!" after the Celtics secured Banner 17 to cap his first season in Boston.
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THE NITTY GRITTY
After four days of on-and-off negotiations about a potential package that would have sent Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett to Los Angeles, the Clippers and Celtics broke off talks again Tuesday as sources indicated the Clippers walked way from the table while balking at including two first-round picks in exchange for Rivers' services. The Celtics would have received DeAndre Jordan and one first-round pick in a proposed package.
WHAT'S UP, DOC?
Rivers has spent the past six weeks on the fence about returning to Boston and it seemed as if the Celtics might be resigned to a move given that he was less than 100 percent committed to the potential roster overhaul that lies ahead. But with talks breaking off and the Clippers suggesting they'll examine free-agent options like Brian Shaw and Lionel Hollins (coaches that won't force the team to break up its roster or pay big money to bring on), it makes you wonder if Rivers can come back to Boston without issue. He can easily smooth over the public side of this, suggesting he was simply examining all options as part of his annual detox process and that he could never have left Boston regardless of how things played out. Internally, he's got a little more explaining to do, this just two years after pledging to be part of the less-than-exciting roster overhaul process that loomed. There could be some resentment among players who think their coach was fixing to go chase a championship elsewhere. That said, if there's any coach capable of smoothing over any hard feelings, it's Rivers.
BACK TO SQUARE ONE
All these very public negotiations did the past four days is add to Boston's offseason headaches. In a way, they are right back to square one, only it's a bit more awkward now. The Celtics still don't have a commitment from their head coach and they still don't have a definitive offseason path. What happens next with Kevin Garnett? And Paul Pierce? How do players like Rajon Rondo feel about the way this whole fiasco played out? The draft looms little more than a week away and free agency opens soon after.
BAD DEAL AVOIDED?
It was pretty obvious that the Clippers had the leverage in negotiations and were unwilling to sweeten the deal for Boston, whether it be the initial request for the inclusion of backup point guard Eric Bledsoe or, later, another first-round pick (which is a bit more baffling since a championship contender's pick would be a not-so-valuable late first-round selection). Regardless, Boston really couldn't come away with just DeAndre Jordan and a first-round pick for one of the league's elite coaches (Rivers) and the backbone of their team (Garnett). Boston needed to move another cap-clogging contract (Jason Terry, Courtney Lee) or get back more in return to even consider giving away two of its top assets.
IT'S OVER, RIGHT?
What a dizzying 96-hour period from the time talks got hot and heavy on Saturday until things fell apart for good on Tuesday. This whole process was like a bad game of red light, green light (trade edition). Now maybe both sides can move forward with other options and bring a bit more definitiveness to their respective offseasons.
The Los Angeles Clippers informed the Boston Celtics on Tuesday morning they are pulling out of talks to acquire Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers, sources told ESPN.
The teams have no plans to speak again, the sources said, and the Clippers are preparing to move on and hire a coach this week.
The talks broke down Tuesday morning when the Clippers "refused to budge" on Boston's latest proposal that asked for DeAndre Jordan, straight up for Garnett, and two first-round draft picks as compensation for allowing Rivers out of the final three-years and $21 million of his contract.
A team source told ESPNBoston.com's Chris Forsberg that "of course" Rivers is welcome to return to coach the Celtics. The question now is whether Rivers still desires to return after this publicized flirtation with the Clippers and his obvious uneasiness about a rebuilding process in Boston.
The Clippers will now go forward with second interviews of Byron Scott on Tuesday and Brian Shaw on Wednesday, where each will meet with owner Donald Sterling. Lionel Hollins had a two-day interview in which he met with Sterling last week.
Clippers sources say the team expects to hire a coach by the end of this week, or early next week.
Hop HERE for the latest.
It appears that the saga surrounding Doc Rivers and his proposed cross-country relocation from the Boston Celtics' bench to the Los Angeles Clippers' bench will drag out at least one more day.
Another element of the talks, sources said, is the negotiations between Rivers and the Clippers on a coaching contract. Rivers has three years left on his original five-year, $35 million deal with the Celtics and will be looking to stay in the same salary range if Boston ultimately receives what it deems sufficient compensation to let the 51-year-old out of that deal.
So the Clippers, in what NBA coaching sources are terming a "separate process," have moved ahead with their coaching search just in case, for one reason or another, they'll be unable to pry Rivers out of Boston. They've arranged sitdowns this week for Byron Scott (Tuesday) and Brian Shaw (Wednesday) with Clippers owner Donald Sterling, with the other finalist for the Clippers' job before the pursuit of Rivers got serious -- Lionel Hollins -- having already met with Sterling.
Yet numerous sources connected to talks continued to express optimism Monday that the Celtics and Clippers will agree to terms this week, with some interpreting the Clippers' plans to resume talks with the likes of Shaw and Scott as their latest thinly veiled message to the Celtics that they aren't afraid to walk away from the table.
"It's a dance right now," said one source close to the process. "I think it'll eventually happen. They're just staring at each other."
Said another: "It's certainly not dead. I think they have an idea of the main parties who would be involved, but now they've got to figure out smaller details and negotiate a deal with Doc."
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The latest as negotiations between the Clippers and Celtics heat up again:
The Celtics and Clippers have relaunched discussions on a new trade framework that could bring a resolution to the complicated talks regarding coach Doc Rivers and star forward Kevin Garnett potentially going to Los Angeles in a multiplayer deal, according to sources close to the process.
With the Clippers adamant that prized young guard Eric Bledsoe will not be included in the trade for Garnett, sources told ESPN.com one proposed tweak to end the weekend stalemate in the talks is the prospect of the Clippers taking back the contract of either Courtney Lee or Jason Terry from the Celtics.
Shedding the long-term money owed to either Lee or Terry, sources said, could convince the Celtics to relent on their demand that Bledsoe be included in the trade. A deal could be completed later Monday or by Tuesday, sources said.
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The initial talks with Boston, sources said Saturday, were focused on the Clippers satisfying Boston's compensation demands to let Rivers out of his lucrative contract and corresponding trade proposals aimed at bringing Garnett to town with Rivers. The Clippers, sources said, are willing to surrender cash and multiple draft picks to secure Rivers' services and offer young center DeAndre Jordan as the primary piece in a deal in exchange for Garnett. But sources said Saturday the Clippers, at present, are refusing to include the highly coveted Bledsoe with Jordan in the same trade in hopes of keeping Bledsoe for a separate transaction.
* Rapid reaction: The Celtics have no reason to let Rivers out of his contract without securing a ransom for his services. Getting back Jordan and a late-round pick simply isn't enough to part with both Rivers and Garnett (the Clippers need to put Bledsoe back into play and/or help Boston remove some of its other salary cap clog). Boston clearly feels it's in a power position here, able to retain Rivers (or at least his rights if he ultimately elects to spend next season in the broadcast booth) if no deal can be struck with Los Angeles. From the beginning, it appeared tough to satisfy both sides with so many moving parts. Now it appears the deal will go into a holding pattern and we'll have to see if the Clippers move forward with pursuing a free-agent coach like Lionel Hollins or Brian Shaw. Even after this flirtation with Los Angeles, there's no reason to believe Rivers wouldn't still be welcome in Boston, his offseason silence allowing him to downplay all of this hoopla if he elects to return for a 10th season on the bench.
The Los Angeles Clippers believe they have the trade assets to reunite Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in L.A. if those prominent members of the Boston Celtics all prove open or able to leave the perennial Eastern Conference power, according to sources close to the process.
CLICK HERE to read the full news story.
CLICK HERE to read Chris Forsberg's column on how the Celtics are stuck at a crossroads, but might be able to facilitate a faster rebuild by acquiring some young talent from the Clippers in exchange for Rivers & Co.
Yahoo! Sports reported Saturday that Kevin Garnett would be willing to waive his no-trade clause if the Celtics and Clippers can finalize a package deal involving Rivers.
Sources told ESPN earlier this week that Rivers is highly intrigued by the idea of coaching the Clippers should he not return to Boston for a 10th season on the bench. By utilizing Rivers as a trade asset and working a separate deal for Garnett, Boston could land a combination of young talent, expiring contracts, and future draft picks to aid its own overdue roster overhaul.
The Celtics and Clippers engaged in trade talks at February's deadline, including a potential swap that would have saw Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan come to Boston in exchange for Garnett. According to the Yahoo! report, the final hurdle of this potential deal would be the Clippers including Bledsoe in a package that could also include two first-round draft picks and Jordan.
* Summer Cooler - Hour 1 (with Simmons interview)
* Summer Cooler - Hour 2 (with Bulpett interview)
Play Podcast ESPNBoston.com's Chris Forsberg gives his take on the breakdown of talks between the Celtics and Clippers, talks about the chances Doc Rivers will be back with the Celtics and discusses how Rivers would be received by Celtics fans.
Play Podcast Ryen Russillo and Danny Kanell discuss the Clippers walking away from a potential deal with the Celtics, what this means for Doc Rivers and much more.