Stymied by NBA commissioner David Stern's public rebuke of a planned mega-trade with the Boston Celtics, the Los Angeles Clippers are now planning on pursuing a trade for Celtics head coach Doc Rivers alone.
ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein reported Thursday night that the Clippers will first target Rivers and then "roll the dice" on acquiring forwards Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce later.
The Clippers are prepared for the possibility that they will end up with only Rivers, according to the report, because they believe acquiring Rivers would at least convince star point guard Chris Paul to stay in Los Angeles.
From the report:
The Clippers' new challenge, sources say, is thus twofold. They must offer enough in compensation to persuade Boston to let Rivers go — which would likely cement the signature of star guard Chris Paul on a new contract when he becomes a free agent — and then hope any subsequent trade agreement they pursue for Garnett is ultimately approved by the league as a separate transaction not contingent on the hiring of Rivers.
On Thursday, Stern noted concerns of earlier versions of the potential Clippers-Celtics blockbuster, which included Rivers along with Garnett, Clippers center DeAndre Jordan and multiple draft picks.
According to reports, the two teams would have tried to get around a rule banning an outright "trade" of a coach by making two separate deals. One would send Garnett to Los Angeles for Jordan and draft picks or other compensation in an indirect exchange for Rivers.
Stern told ESPN Radio in two separate interviews on Thursday, however, that he would not approve such a trade construction.
“The teams are aware that the collective bargaining agreement doesn’t authorize trades involving coaches’ contracts," he said. Later, Stern told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith: "If you think those [deals], at this point having been all over the media for the last week, are separate transactions, when you get back from Miami, Stephen A., I have a bridge that I would very much enjoy selling to you."