We have a deal.
It lacks only the NBA’s stamp of approval, one that will prove hard to deny now that the Celtics and Clippers have decoupled the Kevin Garnett-DeAndre Jordan deal from compensation for Doc Rivers.
Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting the Celtics will receive an unprotected 2015 first round pick for Rivers, who will sign a 3-year/$21 million contract with L.A. Woj:
Rivers had gone into the weekend planning to decide his future with the Celtics, and sources said he had been leaning strongly toward returning next season to fulfill the three years and $21 million left on his contract. With the Celtics moving into a rebuilding phase, several sources told Yahoo! Sports that Boston management preferred draft-pick compensation over paying for an elite coach.
This is a solid if unspectacular deal for the Celtics. Ideally, they would have landed a pick in the 2014 draft, but the Clippers’ pick in that draft will probably land in the 20s, where a team is lucky to land a rotation player. However, two years down the road, it’s possible, especially given Chris Paul’s previous health problems, the pick could be much more valuable for both the player it might return and the flexibility it will afford Danny Ainge. The lack of protection on the pick is rare in the modern NBA, even if it probably won’t come into play. And Ainge should be lauded for turning his coach into a movable asset.
This is the first of a number of moves we should expect this offseason, as the Celtics begin a multi-year retool in search of banner #18.
We should expect Doc’s replacement to be far cheaper, in line with the reasonable notion that it’s not worth paying any coach huge money to finish, as the Celtics are destined, middle-of-the-pack or lower. We’ll get into possible coaching candidates this coming week, with Brian Shaw one key name to keep in mind.
In the meantime, focus will turn to Garnett. It will be tricky to convince the NBA that moving him to the Clippers is unrelated to the previous deal involving both he and Doc, but that might be where he lands, after some permutation of the original deal or period of time. There’s some belief he could return to Boston next season but without Rivers, that seems unlikely. There will be a market for Garnett amongst teams eyeing a title run in 2014 if the C’s can’t find a way to get him to Los Angeles. With no prospect of a championship in Boston, and Rivers, and likely Pierce, gone, KG could be more willing to waive his no-trade clause.