For a long time the Los Angeles Clippers were known as a cheap team that never tried to get better or make a wrong in the playoffs, but for the past couple of years the organization have been trying to lose that tag and the move that they made Sunday will definitely put them on a whole level in the Western Conference. Clippers and the Boston Celtics reached an agreement Sunday that will allow Glen “Doc” Rivers to coach the Clippers for the next three seasons.
Although the NBA still must approve the transaction, this move will help the Clippers to “kill two birds with one stone”: They’ll have Rivers signed for the remaining three years and $21 million he would have been paid by the Celtics, and they’ll virtually assure themselves of re-signing point guard Chris Paul, who can become a free agent on July 1.
According to various reports, Paul strongly supported the Clippers’ pursuit of Rivers and had indicated he was ready to sign a max five-year deal if it happened. It has been reported that the league will allow the head coach exchange, but will not allow any subsequent trade that involves Kevin Garnett. The league would view any such trade as not allowed under the current CBA which does not allow for players to be exchanged in any deal involving coaches.
The deal comes after over a week of sustained negotiations between the two teams where the Celtics were asking for a first-round pick in 2014, which is expected to yield a good crop of college players, in compensation for Rivers; the Clippers refused and in the end, the C’s settled with the first-rounder in 2015. Whether it was the first-round pick in any year, just the fact that all it took for the Clippers to get one of the top 3 coaches in the league was just a pick without including players was a steal within itself.
Although Celtics director of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he wanted Rivers to return, there were reports Ainge was hoping to secure the best return for Rivers and Garnett because Rivers preferred not to return to a Celtics team that is going to rebuild.