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NBA Won’t Approve Doc/KG Trade to Clippers As Constructed

In a confirmation of earlier reports, David Stern has been making the rounds today on sports talk radio to give some extra focus to tonight’s Game 7. That made him available to address the ongoing Celtics-Clippers trade saga and the league’s role in approving any such transactions.

Our buddy Chris Forsberg over at ESPNBoston.com transcribed some of the comments from Stern today on ESPN Radio

“I would say, in the language of diplomacy, that the teams are aware that the collective bargaining agreement doesn’t authorize trades involving coaches’ contracts,” Stern told hosts Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco. “The only consideration that can be done here in player transactions are other players, draft picks, and a very limited amount of cash. But, coaches’ contacts don’t qualify as extra consideration or acceptable consideration in player transactions. The teams know that. It has been confirmed to them. What we wouldn’t prohibit — what the rules wouldn’t prohibit — let me start again, what the rules won’t allow, can’t be gotten around by breaking it up into two transactions.” 

Stern suggested the very public nature of the trade talks between the Celtics and Clippers are working against the teams as they try to satisfy the league’s requirements. 

“If you think, at this point, having been all over the media for the last week, [even as] separate transactions, when you get back from Miami, Stephen A., I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I would very much enjoy selling to you,” quipped Stern. 

When it was suggested it sounded like Stern was saying that Rivers might not end up in L.A., Stern replied, “I’m not saying more.”

After speaking with a couple of sources myself on the reports, there is all kinds of uncertainty right now about a few things.

Those are in order

1) Whether a deal will be allowed

2) Whether changing the timing of the deals, along with reconstructing the deals will be enough to make the NBA allow both transactions

3) What happens in Boston to Doc if the deal falls through entirely?

These are the answers we are hoping to answer in the coming hours and days, but all signs point to a resolution not coming before Game 7 tonight. Stay tuned to CelticsHub for the latest.

  • Josh_5

    I hope this deal falls through so Doc can face the music.

    • Vincent

      What music would that be?

      • someguyinsac

        The music they play right before you hear the voices of a TV game that's being broadcasted?

    • Morpheus

      Get out. Danny and Doc are both to blame. Danny is the GM not Doc.

  • James H

    4) Just how much does the commish have it in for Chris Paul?

  • Amick is reporting that the Celtics may have to either give a bit more, or take a bit less. This is a blessing in disguise if the Celtics are forced to include extra players. Package in Lee and/or Terry, and suddenly, this deal looks a lot more favorable for the Celtics (if we are to enter into rebuilding mode).

  • Michael

    None of this would be happening if the the Celtics weren't interested in dealing anyone and everyone they could. They could easily say "no deal, we're not discussing it." They're discussing it because they want to deal Pierce. Because they want to deal Pierce, KG is open to moving somewhere. Doc is willing to go somewhere to stay with those 2 guys.

    You can't kill these guys for being disloyal when Trader Danny is very clear that he has no use for loyalty. They're showing loyalty to each other, which is admirable as far as I'm concerned.

    You can either have no hard feelings at all, shrug your shoulders and say "this is a business," or you can be upset at everyone involved, from Stern to Wyc to Danny to Tyronn Lue and Fab Melo. But let's not do the Henry/Red Sox thing and smear guys on their way out the door as if the team didn't have a part to play in this.

    • Jeff

      Well said. While I respect that Danny has a job to do, it's hard to define what the Celtics' team philosophy seems to be if the GM is saying everyone is expendable, while the coach is preaching ubunto.

      • fabzzz

        Well if the coach is gone and the players are on their way out, I think the philosophy is very clear: Let's start over, ubunto and 2008 are dead.

    • jpbl1976

      As I've been saying from the start: I hope Wyc fires Danny and begs Larry to come to Boston. Let the Legend lead us out of this mess the way he helped bring the franchise back to glory in the 80's.

      After 2008, Danny's moves have been very sketchy. Look at these 3 players he alienated/traded or let go for idiotic reasons:

      1. Ray Allen – saved Miami's 2013 title hopes by hitting that corner triple.
      2. Tony Allen – All NBA defensive team at Memphis
      3. Nate Robinson – kept Bulls offense going while Rose was out

      The fact of the matter is that we could have kept all three and we would still have guys like Avery Bradley around. Yet Danny stupidly wouldn't sign Tony for longer money and he (and Doc) let the bad blood from trying to trade Ray and Rondo's acerbic personality crater their chances with Ray. Nate Robinson is a wild card but he was very useful during the 2010 title run.

      In contrast, Larry never had what you would call sure-fire draft positions yet he drafted George and Hibbert and took a chance of Lance Stephenson. It's also been well-documented that Bird forms bonds with his players, talking to them even during his basketball sabbatical. If Bird can get through to Stephenson then it goes without saying that he can get through to Rondo. I just don't buy that Rondo is all that difficult — all that negative spin has come from Danny and Doc over the years. They've been doing it to establish their pecking order or to gain an upper hand on contract negotiations.

      Really, I think Ray left not so much because of Rondo — I don't think any player can be expected to like their teammates all the time — even Michael and Scottie and Bird and McHale had their differences. It was because he felt disrespected by Ainge and Doc couldn't find the right way to involve him with the offense that didn't feel like a demotion. In fact, as I think about Ray's time in Boston, I keep going back over the years and think of all the games that we lost because Doc insisted on having Paul run the final play/take that lost shot rather than running a series of screens designed to get Ray free. Even those last-second shots Ray hit were because Doc was having Paul do his thing and Paul decided to pass to Ray — not because he designed that play specifically for him.

      As much as I think Spoelstra isn't all that great, Miami certainly doesn't have any problems having Ray take that last shot — even though Lebron or Wade could very well take it themselves. If you were Ray, where would you rather be? On a team that appreciates you for what you CAN do or a team that tries to box you into a role because of what you CAN'T do.

      If you read the interviews with the San Antonio players during the finals, you'll read that their culture is precisely that: they appreciate players for their contribution, not dictate on them because of their limitations — which is kind of the way Doc coaches.

      I think we should just cut ties with Doc at this point and hire Brian Shaw. The fact of the matter is that 2012-2013 didn't work out because Doc didn't install the right offense at the beginning and was slow to bring on guys like Jeff Green and Bradley.

      He only did those things because Pierce was getting run into the ground last season and he had no choice but to play Jeff more and hope for the best. During the lockout season we were going nowhere with Ray as a starter and Rondo kept suggesting he start Bradley. If he were the sort of coach the media make him out to be, he would've been able to get more out of Terry and Lee and the rest with a better-designed system. Look at the way Pop's gotten so much out of his players. As much as Tony Parker is a better scorer than Rondo, I highly doubt he's a better playmaker. My point is, with the right kind of system, Rondo could be at least as effective as Parker (my thinking is Rondo's a better all-around player).

      Doc also doesn't work all that well with younger players — before the Big 3 came to town, Doc was on the edge of being fired and reports are his point guards aren't overly fond of him. You can tell he's a bit overbearing on Rondo — as a student of Phil Jackson's school of coaching, I doubt Brian will take the same tactic.

      Let me be clear: I like Doc — he seems like a good, decent fellow and is very affable — but as a basketball coach, I don't think he's that much better than Jeff Van Gundy. I'd rate Thibbs as much better than Doc. Doc got better because KG and Pierce put the players in their place and he had Thibbs to design a defense that everyone, from Indiana to San Antonio, is copying.

      What Boston should do, if it's got any sense, is to fire him and let him stew for the 3 seasons (or whatever's in his contract) that he can't coach. In any other company, that's what would happen — fire an erring CEO or SVP and enforce the non-compete clause. You don't publicy hold your company out to the fire and expect to be welcomed back with open arms — you expect to get fired. I know this is sports and things are a little different but I'd also like to think that basic things such as this are true everywhere.

      • check12check

        I mostly agree with you on this, but one thing you said does not sit right with me. I do think we should let Doc go, but I don't believe we should try to enforce a non-compete clause. I don't think Doc is a very good coach, but I do like him as a person (based on what i know of him), and I think we owe him a high degree of gratitude for his long tenure at the helm of our team. I just can't see any reason to act vindictively toward Doc.

        • check12check

          a tenure that includes a rebuilding process and a championship i might add

        • dslack

          Doc is an asset. Ainge wouldn't be stewarding the Celtics properly if he let the asset go without compensation.

  • The Cardinal

    Actually, it was the media that made all of this public. Danny's only comments have been made recently in response to direct questions from the media. When everyone and his brother is talking about something that is supposed to happen behind close doors, at some point – if only for the sake of credibility – it seems like answering direct questions becomes the reasonable thing to do.

    Stern is overstepping again, but the owners have quietly consented to give this kind of power so the owners will have grin and bear it every time he plays Supreme Ruler. As an example, I recently read a post game MLB interview with a losing pitcher who openly complained about the home plate umpire missing 3 key pitch calls. Apparently MLB doesn't try to shut up it's players and managers to the extent that the NBA does, and I've often wonder as to why the two leagues treat post-game comments so differently.

    Right or wrong, there is a kind of plantation mentality involved with the way the league office treats the players and coaches. Whether it's subconscious or not I really can't say, but compared to the other major sports leagues in this country, the NBA treats grown-ass men like grade school kids and that's wholly on the shoulders of the owners/overseers. Okay, end of slightly off-tangent rant…

    • dasein

      How do the media know unless someone from the teams leak what's happening though? Can't blame the media (completely). Teams leak this stuff to try and gain leverage.

      • The Cardinal

        Yeah, but unless you're the NSA, there is no way to determine who leaked what, and whether the person that leaked the info was authorized to do so by an organization, or whether that person was connected to Doc, KG, Chris Paul, Deandre Jordan or god-knows-who, or whether the person was a sports agent, or whether some private eye tapped the phones of the GMs, or etc….. Anyone who has experience with leaks realizes that organizations shouldn't be punished unless there is absolute proof the organization authorized it.

  • cos

    If this deal, in any of its forms, happens I'd be extremely surprised (and disappointed but thats a differnt story.)

    So essentially, we're to expect that the Clippers notorious cheapskate (racist) owner is going to shell out 35mil for 5 in the hopes that he can then pay 100+ mil to Chris Paul. AND THEN take it as a given that they'll trade for KG AND pay for the trade kicker for DAJ.

    And that's not even counting whatever everyone expects him to pay for Paul Pierce.

    And this all doesn't factor the likely hood that Ainge asks for them to either give another player or take some of the dead contracts in the KG trade from boston.

    Really? We're to expect all this to happen? again, its Donald Fricken Sterling!

    this deal is officially over. I'm done following this circus.

    • James H

      It would be funny to think that Sterling is probably now wondering how he can rid himself of this Chris Paul headache!

      • Anthony

        He's probably trying to contact Cliff Paul for an assist.

  • hax

    Trade Doc for 2 1st round picks, then put down the phone and unplug it for the rest of the season.

  • james patrick

    Obviously they know it's a bad trade too! lol

  • GymRat

    Another reason Danny is a bonehead. All this time on a (bad) deal that not only ruins the fabric of the team, it embarrrases the organization….and NEVER actually had a shot at happening because the league wouldn't approve it.

    But at least now we have two pissed off HOF'ers a disgruntled coach and the likelihood that KG walks off into the sunset rather then bleed any more green to a team that gives him a no-trade clause then spends every free moment trying to shop him and would be happy to do so for…drum roll…DeAndre Jordan.

    Way to go Ainge.

    • jman

      Exactly. Cheers Danny for showing class. Then you wonder why it's hard getting FA's here.

    • Marc

      Doc sucks. What is all this sentiment like he is some great coach. All he has ever done is run KG, Pierce, Allen and Rondo into the ground. He has not developed one player to any significant level in 5 years. ( and yes I am including Bradley in that group he has been with the C's for 2 years and he can't dribble the ball up the court when under pressure)

      • GymRat

        I'm inclined to agree with you on Doc. I think he's overrated in most areas save for being a stong leader and somebody who has the respect of players throughout the NBA.

        I'm actually fine with him going. I just know that means KG and likely PP goes with him. I'll take one for the team in Doc to see those two retire in green.

    • check12check

      Danny won't be around much longer imho

  • Sophomore

    Ok, I’ve heard Stern explain what the rule is. What’s the point of the rule? Why would the sky fall if trades like this were allowed?

    • GymRat

      Yes and no. There is no collective agreement on the value of a coach so there basically is no structure to ensure potential deals are fair and standard throughout the NBA. Thus you can not trade coaches like players. You either release them from their contract or you don't. Without agreed upon standards you open up the door to expoitation.

      If they allow a coach to be "traded" what keeps teams from signing elite coaches to long term deals then flipping them to help a rebuild. For example San Antonio could get a ransom for Pop and sell him off at the end of next season for assets to aide the post-Duncan rebuild. Anything that was offered to the team to release the contract would not count against the salary cap (unless they are players) so you could stockpile cash and draft picks or force teams to take bad contracts all outside the scope of the rules of the CBA.

      It's an unlikely and far-fetched scenario which is why there is no deal to prevent it. You just don't trade coaches. Ainge knows this. The entire league knows this.

      Ainge is a desperate shyster.

      • Mark

        1: He wasn't trading Doc. 2: Precedent has been set for teams to get compensation for coaches that move from one team to another. Stern was ok with teams doing this until now. Ainge doesn't look bad here only Stern for flip flopping.

        • GymRat

          1. when you propose releasing a coach to a team for draft picks it is indeed a trade.

          2. Agreed. But that compensation was cash – and not in conjunction with the trade of another player (which as much as Ainge is trying to act like it isn't – it's obviously tied together which is really the objection Stern is making).

          When has stern ever been okay with something like this before? I've been watching the NBA for 26 years and it's never happened that I know of. Can you site another trade that happened simultaneous with a coaches release that a team was "compenstated" for.

          3. Ainge is still a desperate shyster

          • dslack

            I just don't see the downside. Suppose San Antonio wanted to release Pop and let him coach somewhere else in exchange for compensation. How does that hurt anyone?

            Nevertheless, it IS a rule, and the Celtics and Clippers were clearly trying to skirt it.

  • Switcharoo

    DA= dumb ass.
    Two HOF and a coach above most and your just gonna drop ’em. AssHole! I don’t care what loyalty means to this mouthbreather, three guys give blood sweat and tear to your organization, then cOme the sunset ears and you shop their fame out to the highest(cheapest) bidder? Fuck you. And fuck all of you saying Ainge is doing his job. These guys came and stayed becaus it ment something to them. To hang with the greatest, be part of the greatest, by no, no loyalty in this business, just money money money. I don’t know about you all but I would like to see these guys retire Celtics. If THEY don’t that’s fine, they can walk if they want. IF they do then for fuck sakes let them, THEY earned it. Pushing them out them door is just so low I don’t even know what to say.

  • cos

    I know I said earlier that Im done with this but after the latest report from Woj that the clippers now don't want to give any compensation for Doc, if I'm Ainge, I tell the clips "thats it, no deal, and don't call me back ever again."

    Even if Doc retires, the celtics still own his rights and should make it clear he can be realized for compensation from any team, but never for the clippers.

    Its no longer about getting assets from KG and Doc. Its now about showing the clippers that their dysfunctional and making it clear to them that they can't keep putzing around.


  • Nature Boy 16X

    I have a proposal for a reconfigured trade that the league might approval: Danny Ainge and three first round picks to the Miami Heat for ….. nothing! The Celtics would be the big winners in that transaction, as I am willing to forego even more opportunities to draft young talent simply to rid the Celtics of Ainge.

    I have said for quite some time now that Danny Ainge is one of the worst, most impatient, and untrustworthy GMs in all of sports. I fully understand that it is the responsibility of every manager to constantly think of how to improve his or her team. But it is a fine line between that and creating an air of instability, and Ainge does the latter. Ainge's job description is no different than that of any other GM in the league. Yet, you do not hear of them constantly going on the record saying things like, "I am open to trading anyone on my roster if the right deal came along."

    Think about it, people. How tiring would you find it if, every day you went to work, your boss mentioned possible layoffs or firings.

    • hax

      Best GM in the league, sorry.

  • Anthony

    KG and JET for Deandre, Bledsoe and two first rounders. Clips give us compensation for letting Doc out of his contract. Each transaction has nothing to do with the other and Doc isn't being traded. Problem solved.

    Go Spurs!! (only for tonight otherwise Go Celts!)

  • dasein

    Let em have Doc for the 2 picks.

    Keep KG and let them see how far they get with Jordan. Hire Shaw as coach (maybe Lue if he wants it). KG will get over it right?

  • Mark

    Apparently the latest is the Clippers want Doc but they don't want to give up anything for compensation. You can't negotiate with someone that refuses to negotiate. Danny needs to tell the Clippers to go pound sand on this. Let Doc do TV for three years, don't care anymore. Let the Clippers tumble back to irrelevancy when Paul walks this summer and Black and Jordan follow suit in the near future.

    Screw the Clippers and their racist, slumlord owner.

    • Mark


    • Danny


  • Hello dude, Really like this concept. I did not know that NBA Won’t Approve Doc/KG Trade to Clippers As Constructed but the allocation you did here makes me knowable about this issue. Thanks

  • The Clippers' acquisition of Doc River might, in fact, be the best acquisition that any team made this offseason. He changes the culture of any team that he's in. He's going to make Vinny look like the joke that he was.