The Celtics and Clippers are still discussing the trade that would send Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers to Los Angeles, but the whole deal is predicated on Rivers wanting to coach the Clippers.
So, even if the Celtics and Clippers agree how to handle Eric Bledsoe, Jason Terry and Courtney Lee, Rivers still must give his approval, which might not happen. Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe
Meanwhile, a source close to Rivers told the Globe that Rivers is still grappling with the decision, especially as the trade gets more complicated and negotiations more contentious. The talk of the Clippers acquiring Paul Pierce in the trade are remote, especially since the Celtics would have to honor his deal and send him to the Clippers with a $15 million salary.
Why would Rivers turn this down? Coaching Garnett and Paul Pierce with a better supporting cast seems ideal for him. Washburn explains a possible hang-up:
And don’t expect the Celtics to waive Pierce just to see him sign with the Clippers during free agency. If they decide to trade Pierce, and NBA sources said the team is open to the possibility, they want a return for his services unless waiving him will allow him enough salary cap space to sign a solid free agent.
At a certain point – if it hasn’t already passed – Rivers returning to Boston will be more trouble than it’s worth. He’s essentially telling every Celtic besides Garnett and Pierce he doesn’t want to coach them.
Rivers obviously prioritizes coaching Garnett and Pierce, but if he can bring only Garnett to Los Angeles, that could change the equation. How likely is Pierce to end up with the Clippers, and would Rivers accept that risk? That’s the question the coach must ask himself – just so he’s prepared if the teams ever agree to a trade.