Clippers, Celtics end talks on Doc Rivers deal, at least for now

Posted June 18, 2013, at 11:30 p.m.

LOS ANGELES — The drama between the Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics is over — at least for now.

Both teams declared Tuesday that they had called off talks for a potential blockbuster deal that could have brought Boston coach Doc Rivers and power forward Kevin Garnett to Los Angeles.

But even with both sides saying they’d had their last conversation about the complicated deal, several NBA executives said it won’t truly be over until the Clippers actually hire a coach who is not named Doc Rivers. The executives spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

If the Clippers don’t hire a coach before the June 27 NBA draft, it probably will spark more speculation that Gary Sacks, the Clippers’ vice president of basketball operations, and Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, will renew negotiations, the executives said.

But as of Tuesday night the Clippers were moving forward, sorting through the available coaching candidates in their search to replace Vinny Del Negro, who was fired May 21.

Byron Scott, former coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, New Orleans Hornets and New Jersey Nets, was scheduled to have dinner with Clippers owner Donald Sterling on Tuesday night.

Scott, who coached Chris Paul when both were with the Hornets, met with Clippers front-office personnel last week, but this was to be his first meeting with Sterling about the coaching position.

Brian Shaw, associate head coach of the Indiana Pacers, also interviewed with the Clippers last week. Shaw, who was in Denver on Tuesday interviewing for the Nuggets’ coaching job, will meet with Sterling on Wednesday, the executives said.

Former Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, scheduled to interview for the Denver job, also remains in the mix with the Clippers. Hollins interviewed last week with the Clippers’ front office and he met with Sterling.

As for the Clippers-Celtics negotiations, the final sticking point that stopped the deal, again, was Ainge’s insistence the Clippers give Boston two first-round draft picks along with center DeAndre Jordan.

Sacks was prepared to trade Jordan and one No. 1 pick for the right to negotiate with Rivers and to acquire Garnett, 37, but the Clippers refused to add another first-round pick, NBA executives said.

If the Clippers gave up first-round picks in 2013 and 2014 to Boston, they possibly could have gone four consecutive years without a first-round selection. The Clippers’ last No. 1 pick was in 2010, when they drafted Al-Farouq Aminu.

The Clippers and Celtics renewed talks early Tuesday morning, both sides having already agreed that Clippers backup point guard Eric Bledsoe wasn’t going to be in the deal. But the teams still couldn’t come to an agreement.

Sterling was prepared to offer Rivers a five-year coaching contract for $6 million to $7 million per season, the executives said. Rivers has three years and $21 million left on his deal with Boston.

The Clippers still want to see what the Celtics will do with forward Paul Pierce, executives said. Boston has until June 30 to decide whether to buy out Pierce’s $15.3 million contract next season for $5 million. If Pierce is bought out, the Clippers probably would try to sign him as a free agent.

The executives said the Clippers put all of this effort into acquiring Rivers and Garnett so they could improve their chances of signing All-Star point guard Chris Paul to an extension.

Paul, who becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1, can sign a maximum five-year deal for $107.3 million with the Clippers.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

 

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