As suspected from last night, the Clippers and Celtics, thanks to some prodding with Chris Paul and a desire from Doc Rivers to skip town, are on the verge of completing a couple of blockbuster deals. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports confirmed early this morning that the parameters of a trade (or two separate trades) had been agreed upon in principle and were being taken to the ownership level for final approval, so the team could be finalized today.
Clippers management planned to huddle with owner Donald Sterling on Wednesday night in Los Angeles to get his approval and move on Thursday to finalize an agreement with the Celtics, sources said. Sterling met with Clippers coaching candidate Brian Shaw, an Indiana Pacers assistant coach, on Wednesday night.
The Clippers will send center DeAndre Jordan and two first-round draft picks to the Celtics in the deal, league sources said.
Under league rules, Rivers can’t officially be traded, but the draft picks are compensation for a release of the coach’s contractual obligations to the Celtics. Garnett and Jordan can be exchanged for each other. In the eyes of the NBA, these have to be executed as two different deals.
The Clippers negotiated a five-year, $35 million deal with Rivers that could be worth as much as $8 million a year with bonus incentives, sources said. Rivers has arrangements to bring some Celtics support staff – including assistants coaches Tyronn Lue and Kevin Eastman, and possibly others – with him to Los Angeles, sources said.
CH’s Take: While there are still a couple obstacles to overcome here, including the wildcard that is Donald Sterling, it appears clear that it’s only a matter of when, not if, Garnett and Rivers are sent to the west coast. So what are your feelings about the deal?
It’s hard to fully evaluate the deal, until we know of all the specifics, as well as how that meeting with Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge went yesterday. Assuming that Doc voiced he would not be willing to come back to Boston for next season, and the fact that Kevin Garnett likely would not have let himself be traded to any other destination, Ainge’s hands may have been tied a bit here.
On the other hand, Ainge knew that it was the Clippers that crawled back to the table yesterday, with Chris Paul’s urging so he had that knowledge in his back pocket in his attempt to squeeze more out of them.
It’s a bit disturbing that this might have been the BEST Ainge could do, with no other recourse besides letting Doc/KG walk away for nothing, or return to a damaged locker room. Something is always better than nothing when it comes to Ainge and assets though, so the deal looks like it’s getting done.
If Sterling gives it the okay, David Stern still has to give approval. As we saw last winter with the trade of Chris Paul, those approvals aren’t always sure things, especially when you are dealing with two connected (but separate deals) here. The league will take a close look at it.
There are plenty of other questions that need to be answered as well. What does this mean for Paul Pierce, who will surely and understandably want out, if at all possible? Is this a precursor to other major moves this summer, now that Ainge has additional assets or will there just be more salary dumping in the interim of guys like Jason Terry who have no use on a rebuilding team?
We’ll answer those questions in the coming days, but for now, we wait for a final go-ahead on this one.
In the meantime, check out the latest CelticsHub Podcast from late last night for more in-depth reaction from Rich Keefe and myself on the deal