It appears the Celtics offseason may be on the verge of coming full circle. Following up Ramona Shelbourne’s report from earlier today about trade talks dying off, multiple reports from just about everywhere have come in this afternoon. The common theme? The Clippers are balking at giving up two first round picks in a deal for Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett, and are looking to move on to other options.
Unlike Saturday when both sides have reached an impasse, this time it looks to be more than posturing, as Danny Ainge told Baxter Holmes of The Boston Globe today:
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge confirmed to the Globe that the proposed Celtics-Clippers blockbuster deal that would have sent both Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett to the Clippers is, in fact, “dead.”
Making matters even more interesting? Ainge still wants Rivers back as head coach, despite all the speculation. What does Doc have to say about all of it?
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports fills up in on that part of the story:
The Celtics have told Doc Rivers they would still like him to return as coach. Celtics general manager Danny Ainge informed Rivers of the failed trade talks on Tuesday morning, and reiterated the Celtics’ desire to have him return and fulfill the final three years and $21 million left on his contract, sources said.
Rivers will travel to Boston on Wednesday and discuss his future with Ainge. The Celtics and Rivers plan to reach a final resolution in the next few days, sources said.
CH’s Analysis: So we are back at square one at this point. Ainge made the right move thankfully, and walked away from an inferior offer from the Clippers. They might call back, but they probably won’t because let’s face it, they’re the Clippers. Unless Chris Paul strongarms them into a move, Danny Ainge isn’t going to settle for less than decent value. Since he can’t get multiple picks or salary cap flexibility, it’s not worth blowing up your franchise up for a couple late round picks and DeAndre Jordan.
Time is running relatively short though now. Rivers is not going to coach anywhere else next year, unless it’s with KG in my opinion and I don’t think Garnett wants to start over anywhere else, unless it’s with Rivers on a contender. I don’t see any other contenders with coaching vacancies out there, so both of these guys are going to fade into the sunset, or they are back for at least one more run in Boston. It all probably depends on what Ainge elects to do with Pierce.
All in all, the possibility Doc and KG are back next season is still very real. Pierce too. Ainge dug himself into a hole cap-wise last season, but he’s not going to give those guys away to get out of that hole.
The bad blood about Doc wanting to leave? I don’t think there’s going to be too much of that either. By offering to go to LA with KG, he was doing Ainge a favor in helping C’s get value for both him and Garnett. It just didn’t work out. My guess there was plenty of civil conversation about this behind closed doors. The Celtics may not be thrilled with Doc’s flirtation with LAC, but I don’t think it’s anything they can’t get over.
Now, comes the true test. Just how much does Doc wants to stay in town? And will Ainge be willing to let his coach walkaway since he wants to start rebuilding now, rather than field a competitive team next year with KG and Pierce on it? Or does he cave on Doc’s desire to return with Pierce and KG? Or does Doc want out either way?
We’ll find out in mere hours.