Clips, Celts reach deal for Rivers

June, 23, 2013
6/23/13
6:25
PM ET


After days of wrangling, negotiating and posturing, the Los Angeles Clippers have agreed in principle to a deal with the Celtics for coach Doc Rivers, pending league approval, according to sources.

Sources confirmed on Sunday that the Clippers will sign Rivers to a three-year, $21 million contract. They will send a 2015 first-round pick as compensation to the Celtics, who have agreed to release the coach from the three years, $21 million he has remaining on his deal with the club.

Sources close to the process told ESPN that the Clippers believe that the deal with Rivers will clinch Chris Paul's signature on a new five-year max contract in July. Paul becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1.

Contrary to previous reports, according to league and team sources, the Celtics have been complicit all along in assisting Rivers make the switch from Boston to Los Angeles.

Although Danny Ainge, the Celtics' director of basketball operations, was initially irked that Rivers was lukewarm about returning to Boston, where a rebuilding process will soon be underway, team sources said he recognized the best way to accumulate first-round draft picks, which he covets, would be to relinquish his two most valued assets -- Rivers and Kevin Garnett. Since then, he and Rivers have been working side by side to secure a deal that is best for both parties, sources said.

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Jackie MacMullan

ESPNBoston.com columnist

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