The Clippers are reportedly offering a package centered around DeAndre Jordan and a draft pick to entice Boston to let Rivers walk. (He has three years and $21 million left on his contract.)
The Clippers would get Kevin Garnett back in the deal, and the team is confident it can also acquire Paul Pierce in a separate transaction.
Melo and the Knicks can only benefit from the Celtics-Clippers trade talks.
If the deal goes through, it would leave Boston in rebuilding mode. The Celtics would end up with a new head coach (Lionel Hollins or Brian Shaw?) and a roster devoid of two franchise linchpins in Pierce and Garnett.
The Celts may be able to move Jason Terry or Courtney Lee in the deal, which would free up salary-cap space. But they would also have to take back Jordan, who has two years and $22.4 million left on his contract. Jordan's contract also includes a 15-percent trade kicker that would increase his salary if he is dealt.
Boston wants Clips guard Eric Bledsoe in the deal, but Los Angeles reportedly is balking at that demand.
So Boston's roster could be left awfully thin next season if the deal goes through. It would be in full-on rebuilding mode, a development that would help the Knicks greatly.
Really, there's only one major downside here for New York: If Rivers goes to L.A., it all but guarantees that Chris Paul will re-sign with the Clippers. But a Paul-to-New York scenario was an extreme long shot in the first place.
IF DOC STAYS: Let's say that the Celts-Clips talks fall through and Rivers returns to Boston.
This could also benefit the Knicks.
By flirting with the Clippers, Rivers has made it clear that he isn't 100 percent committed to Boston's future.
So why should we expect the players to be fully committed to Rivers if he returns to Boston?
Throughout his tenure on the Celtics' bench, Rivers has been very successful in getting his players to buy in to his message. But you have to wonder if those same players, Rajon Rondo in particular, will buy in wholeheartedly if they know their coach was eyeing another job over the summer.
And if the players aren't fully on board with Rivers, it could be a difficult year in Boston.
With the 24th pick in the first round, New York is expected to target a big man or quick backup point guard. Wolters fits the bill as a guard and Dieng is a solid big man prospect, so it will be an interesting day at the Knicks' facility.