The ongoing saga between Doc Rivers, the Celtics and the Clippers may be nearing a resolution. After initially balking at surrendering a first round pick for the right to hire Rivers, the Clippers re-engaged Boston on Sunday and have agreed to send an unprotected 2015 first round pick to Boston, a league source confirmed to SI.com.
The Clippers and Rivers have agreed on the framework of a three-year, $21 million deal--the same length and salary Rivers had on his contract with the Celtics.
Yahoo! Sports first reported the restarted talks between LA and Boston.
One of the final hurdles could be the NBA. The collective bargaining agreement doesn't allow coaches to be traded, and in recent public comments commisioner David Stern made it clear that an earlier trade scenario that would have sent Rivers and Kevin Garnett to Los Angeles for a package headlined by DeAndre Jordan and draft considerations would not get league approval.
"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 ESPN Radio. "The only consideration that can be done here in player transactions is other players, draft picks and a very limited amount of cash. But coaches' contracts don't qualify as extra consideration — or acceptable consideration — in player contracts. The teams know that. It has been confirmed to them. What the rules won't allow can't be gotten around by breaking it up into two transactions."
When asked by host Stephen A. Smith about the possibility of two separate transactions—Rivers being let out of his contract, followed by a Garnett-Jordan trade, or vice versa—Stern scoffed at the suggestion.
"If you would think that those, now, after being all over the media for the last week or whatever, are separate transactions, [then] when you get back from Miami, Stephen, I have a bridge that connects to Brooklyn that I would very much enjoy selling to you," Stern said.
Should this version of the Clippers deal fall apart, it's becoming less and less likely that Rivers returns to Boston. Rivers has a strong interest in coaching the Clippers. The Denver Nuggets, which reached out to Boston two weeks ago, dangling a first round pick in exchange for Rivers, re-engaged the Celtics over the weekend with a similar offer, according to a source. The Nuggets were told Rivers isn't interested in coaching in Denver at this time. If the Clippers deal crumbles, there are strong indications that Rivers would return to broadcasting, where he would command an annual salary in the neighborhood of $2 million per year.