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Evaluating The Celtics/Clippers Trade Possibilities

It’s an ever-changing landscape on the trade market right now, with multiple reports coming in that talks between the Celtics and Clippers involving Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers are heating up yet again as we suspected. With an endless flurry of reports and tweets hitting the web at every hour, it’s time to separate the good information from the bad and break down the realistic trade possibilities out there.


DeAndre Jordan has a trade kicker (15 percent) and is signed for two more seasons. He’s also handsomely overpaid.

Caron Butler is an expiring contract (8 million). He’s like Paul Pierce, but without the rebounding or defense.

Eric Bledsoe is a young promising point guard, but is only signed for 2013-14 season. He will be a restricted free agent after that.

Jason Terry has a trade kicker (7.5 percent). He also has a sizable Celtics tattoo on his arm.

Kevin Garnett is signed for two more years. The final year of his deal is only partially guaranteed (like Pierce is for next season) at six million dollars.

–All Clippers future draft picks will likely come late in the first round 24-30 range.

–All mentions of Doc Rivers imply that the Celtics would release him from his contract, not include him in a deal itself.


Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, and long term mid-level deal (Courtney Lee and/or Jason Terry) for DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe and multiple first round draft picks.

Analysis: A pipe dream for Ainge. He clears the long-term books, sending what would now be overpaid role players packing in Lee and Terry, while also coming out with additional assets (draft picks) and a promising prospect in Bledsoe that could be groomed or dealt for more assets.

I’m not crazy about Bledsoe and I think Jordan’s contract is a short-term albatross but even I would give that deal the green light. It’s safe to say the Clippers would balk at it. Clippers say no.


Kevin Garnett, Doc Rivers, Jason Terry and Courtney Lee for DeAndre Jordan, Caron Butler and draft picks

Analysis: Ainge continues to clear up the books for future cap space, but comes out with little else, because of it. The only benefits of this deal come well down the road, when Jordan’s deal expires after the 2014-15 season. My guess is Ainge would say yes to this kind of deal, but personally, I would balk at it. Just don’t feel like you’re getting enough value for Garnett. Clippers could balk as well due to long-term financial commitments, but Lee and Terry are both very serviceable players. There are far worse contracts out there.


Rivers, KG, and Lee or Terry for Jordan, Butler and 1st round pick

Analysis: Now we are getting dangerously close to a trade, for the sake of making a trade. The only way a deal like this goes down is if the relationship with Doc is damaged to the point that there is no way he is coming back. With him refusing to return, there is no way Garnett wants to come back, as well as Pierce. Anything other than that scenario, makes me believe this is not worth moving Garnett for.


Garnett, Doc for Jordan and 1st round picks.

Analysis: The ultimate slap in the face for Celtics fans. Celtics gain no financial flexibility, take back a “questionable” asset in Jordan and a couple late first round picks and are also stuck with a bunch long-term mid-level deals that Ainge will be looking to dump in future moves.


It’s fair to say if Doc and KG are sent packing, Pierce would be gone as well. If he plans on joining his crew in LA, the most plausible scenario would be for Pierce to be traded to a team that could take his cap hit before June 30th and then buy him out for 5 million. From there, Pierce could sign with Clips. Celtics would take the trade exception and probably send some cash to the team (and another asset) to make it worth their while to absorb Pierce’s deal and the eventual 5 million dollar cap hit. Not an ideal scenario by any means for Ainge, but allows him to at least get a trade exception to work with moving forward.


Analysis: It’s hard to imagine at this point, but if you trust Ainge to make the right move, this still has to be a viable option. Obviously there would be a fair amount of tinkering done with the supplementary pieces on the roster, but if you believe Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald (and I do) Ainge still is leaving the door open for Pierce/KG and company to be back for one final ride.

One other plausible scenario we are leaving out. Ainge and Doc working together on this, with the best interests of Celts in mind. Ainge likes to explore any possible scenario for his players and the only way KG would waive his no-trade clause is either a) Pierce goes with him (tough to do in a trade) or b) Rivers goes with KG as well. Ainge works to see if he can get an offer that makes sense for the future of C’s and walks away if it doesn’t come about.

A Rivers return at this point is likely a long shot, given how far down the road this has come, but stranger things have happened. If both guys have been upfront to be each other about everything, I could see it happening. It’s clearly tough to tell from afar, without knowing what has been said behind closed doors.

All in all, if Ainge is going to pull a trigger here on a franchise-altering deal, he can’t settle. He needs to hold out for real value for both his coach and best defender.


  • dslack

    Yup. Totally agree, Brian. I don't want Jordan at $13M/yr, so if the Celtics have to take him, they'd better be getting some other assets.

  • High Rollers

    Absolutely, Brian Robb. Absolutely.

  • cos

    whatever way this goes, its gotta be done very soon. You can't keep dragging these offers along while holding any chance of bringing everyone back if a deal doesn't happen.

    whatever happens, this is going to be one doozy of a press conference.

    (I have no say in the matter but the Double P should retire a Celtic. He's earned it.)

  • Josh_5

    Wow, be proud Danny. Your willing to trade the Bill Russell of our generation for a 1st round pick and a bag of doughnuts. What bullshit.

    • GymRat


  • OlSKool1972

    This is the Clippers were talking about. Uunless the Commisioner helps them they won't pull be able to pull off a trade like this. My guess is that talks break down and Doc resigns, KG retires, and Pierce is broguht out or traded.

  • cos

    one more thing. What exactly are the Celtics going to give inorder to get a team to accept PP and pay the 5 mil buyout.

    At that point every team in the league knows Pierce is going to get moved, whats the sweetener to make it happen? I highly doubt its just going to be cash.

    essentially, it'd be KG, DOC, PP, whatever else for Jordan, a pick(s), and ???? – what a disaster.

  • hax

    @ 'DeAndre overpaid'. For Centers he actually isn't. Any decently skilled big man gets huge money in today's nba.
    Hibbert: 12 ppg, 8 rpg, 17.32 per – 13.6 mill
    Jordan: (2 years younger) 9 ppg, 7 rpg, 17.21 per – 10.5 mill

    • Mark

      The stats need a bit of facts behind them. Hibbert was injured for a majority of this season.

      However, IF he committed himself and under the right tutelage Jordan could be a better player than Hibbert in a few years. That if is quite large though.

      • OKCeltic

        Unfortunately, the perfect tutor for Jordan would have been sent to LA to get him. KG would make him a real force.

    • dslack

      Jordan would be making $13M if on the Celtics due to his trade kicker.

  • CelticsBIG3

    So much for "bleed Green, die Green". Where does the team go from here if this goes down? 11 million dollars invested in a role player who is completely incapable of playing in crunch time? Seems like a good time to cut ties with Ainge too. What a f'n moron.

    • hax

      1st round exit and stuck with old/underperforming bench players with contracts at 5+ mill per year, and getting nothing in return for losing doc/kg/pp.

      • CelticsBIG3

        For you to even compare Hibbert and Jordan is laughable. Hibbert is CONSIDERABLY better than Jordan.

        Jordan in the playoffs this year:
        3.7 ppg
        6.3 reb
        + 7.33 eff
        24 mpg

        Hibbert in the playoffs this year
        17 ppg
        9.9 reb
        +21.0 eff
        36.5 mpg

        We're going to become the new ATL Hawks.

        • Anthony

          Agree that DJ is not on the same level as Hibbert but I also think DJ might be more successful in the weaker Eastern conference. Wouldn't he be at least better than Perks?

        • Kieran

          Yeah, DJ should probably be compared to JaVale McGee. Similar playing style, athleticism and basketball IQ

          • CelticsBIG3

            I might venture a guess to say that JaVale McGee might have more upside on the IQ end of the game.

  • Matt

    You can’t compare the talent exchanged and leave it at that, guys. They’re giving up a young big and then some for basically a 1-2yr rental in kg.

    Calling Danny a moron shows your ignorance. If we’re not going all out now (which we can’t anyway), there’s no better time to be bad than leading up to ’14 draft.

  • Mark

    I don't like the money Jordan is making but keep in mind that Jordan becomes an expiring contract at the end of next season. Talk about a nice asset to have in your back pocket in an athletic big. I'd love to see the Celtics get Bledsoe as well for no other reason then he's a hot commodity around the league and he can be easily flipped and get quality for him. But, seeing as how that isn't likely, I really want to see Lee AND Terry shipped out. Getting out from under their long term deals would go a long way to be players in the market sooner rather than later.

    As for Pierce, I'd like to see a deal with the Rockets. Freeing up money for the Rockets would allow them to go after Howard and Paul which I believe is a VERY real possibility. Problem there is the money doesn't match up with the Rockets at all WITHOUT talking back the horrific contracts of Lin and Asik.

  • Marc

    Celtics should trade Pierce and Bradley to Atlanta for Josh Smith. KG and Doc to Clippers for Jordan and 1st round draft pick. Bring in Lionel Hollins as coach. This would leave us a starting five of Rondo, Lee, Green, Smith and Jordan. Would still have Bass and Terry off the bench for some scoring. Pick Ledo at 16 in the draft. Not bad for a quick rebuild.

  • High Rollers

    I wonder if the lock-out, shortened '11-'12 season, and new CBA have anything to do with this. Doc's contract was signed before all that went down, no?

    I'm not sure how, but I bet it altered the course of things, perhaps greatly, for the C's.

  • Fred Barnum

    Jordan is 25 and is a top 10 NBA Center who has never had any big man tutelage. KG is a 1-2 year rental. If Celts can move KG and both Terry and Lee, this is a good move. Starting five – Jordan, Sullinger, Green, Rondo and Bradley, backed by Butler, Bass, Crawford, Williams and Melo is not bad and it is very young.

    • hax

      agreed. I'm not sure Bradley & Sullinger are the answers to be starters for us though.

    • dslack

      I'm not sure he's a top-10 center.
      Better than him:

      1. Marc Gasol
      2. Dwight Howard
      3. Tyson Chandler
      4. Pau Gasol
      5. Joakim Noah
      6. Kevin Garnett
      7. Al Horford
      8. Roy Hibbert
      9. Brook Lopez
      10. Marcin Gortat

      • Mark

        Don't forget Bynum squeezing himself in there next season.

      • JCP

        If KG is in there as a center, Tim Duncan would be as well.

      • GMan

        Asik (way better defender/rebounder), Varejao, Pekovic, A. Davis….
        Wow, we should have done this list a few Artikels earlier. Jordan really is average at best.
        You just don't put KG in a Situation like this!!!

  • hax

    Going from speculated trades this year, if we don't take this deal, all we could get for PP & KG is Josh Smith & Kris Humphries.

    • CelticsBIG3

      Thats better than Jordan and a late 20's first round pick

  • hax

    Also Brad Turner reports the deal is very close to being done very soon. Though that's the same guy who f'ed up the other report.

  • CelticsBIG3

    Did any of you watch how this team defends when KG is on the bench or not playing? DeAndre Jordan isn't going to step in and fill his shoes. When we tried to give Rajon the reigns early in the season even with Pierce and Garnett the results were not impressive. This is going to get REAL ugly if all this goes down.

  • GymRat

    I happen to live in LA, so maybe I should reverse course and start praising Danny.

    Thanks DA I'll hopefully get to watch PP and KG be treated with the respect they deserve and play out the last of their time by continuing a heated rivalry with the Lakers in Clipper blue and red.

    Go Clippers!!!

  • Mark

    Reports coming out the Clippers are holding firm to dealing Jordan and a couple picks for Doc/KG and nothing else. If they refuse to deal Bledsoe OR refuse to take on Terry and/or Lee then negotiations are finished hopefully. Ainge would gain next to nothing if he doesn't get Bledsoe or additional cap relief.

  • Anthony

    The Clippers are so full of sh-t, trying to use the Blake/ Bledsoe for Dwight rumors as leverage.

    Even if Dwight did want to play with CP3, they can either sign him straight up (sure for less money). Why in the world would the Clippers want to help the Lakers giving them their own franchise player in return? and even sweetening the deal with Bledsoe? They can then in turn trade Blake for cap space (Pierce would be a simple solution). They can screw the Lakers and still get Dwight.

    DA needs to get as much as possible from the Clippers…. DJ, Bledsoe, first rounders, second rounders, Caron's expiring contract, Blake, dump Bass/ JET/ CLee contracts. He should just ask for it all!

    • Anthony

      Off topic, but no way Paul George wants to stay in small market IND right?

      Pipe dream but maybe PG and RR together? Damn, he's a Cali guy and would probably want back in the West coast.

      • hax

        Would be cool. But if that organization is ran well, he will enjoy it. Less pressure to win.

  • jpbl1976

    I have a feeling that all the talk coming out of LA is from people on the Clippers side so that if it falls through, the Clips can tell CP3 they tried their best to get him KG and Doc.

    I would love it if KG just came out and say he'd retire rather than play for the Clippers — because if we've shown ANYONE loyalty these past 6 years, it's KG. The only time KG was ever on the block was last February under this same scenario and it was really just CP3's people spinning it. I don't think it ever got as serious as this.

    KG actually has the most power in this situation. One word from him to this effect scuppers the whole thing.

    Of course, Danny is just being Danny: he'd trade his wife and kids if it meant a 2nd round pick. Even as a Celtic, Danny did a lot of crazy things that no sane person would try, like that skirmish with Tree Rollins. So this crazy deal is about par for the course.

    I keep expecting to wake up from a nightmare. Guys, we're talking about a larger deal involving 2 of our Hall of Fame players (P-Dub and KG) and our potentially Hall of Fame coach being traded/released to one of the historically bad NBA franchises for a bunch of unknown quantities (picks/Bledsoe's purported upside) and one albatross of a contract (Jordan). How can we spin this as a positive even with the financial flexibility?

    It's not like we have a Dwyane Wade that can convice Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to sign here as free agents — Miami in 2010 about the only time the whole cap space thing worked. New York may have won the Altantic last year but I doubt anyone can say for certain that their whole cap-clearing strategy REALLY worked out for them.

    If this is all a ploy to land Wiggins in 2014, maybe we should pass: we've been unlucky twice already: the Tim Duncan and Kevin Durant drafts — and if you go back to all the way to 86 because poor Lenny died, we're struck out thrice with these high picks.

    Regardless of what happens, this is just reprehensible: if CP3 and the Clips get what they want, it'd be funny if CP3 suffered a season-ending injury that required micro-fracture surgery.

  • Jim

    The fact that you said it would be funny if CP3 were to suffer a season ending injury confirms what I suspected: you are not smart nor are you a true sportsman, and therefore everything else you have written is merely crap.

  • So now that this deal went through it is safe to assume that we can take a proper record of what really went on. :-)

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