It’s done: Clippers reach agreement with Celtics on a deal to hire Doc Rivers as head coach

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Our long national nightmare is over, as the Clippers and Celtics have agreed in principle on a deal that will allow Doc Rivers to become the head coach in Los Angeles.

According to multiple reports, Rivers has agreed to a three-year contract worth $21 million to coach the Clippers, which is the same amount he had left on his deal with the Celtics.

As compensation, the Clippers are sending an unprotected 2015 first round draft pick to Boston. The deal still requires approval from the league office, although with no players’ contracts tied to this one as they were in previous iterations, it’s expected to go through without issue.

It will be very interesting to see now if the Clippers are able to convince the NBA that the acquisition of Rivers came with no strings attached in the form of a side deal for Kevin Garnett or Paul Pierce. While the coach will in all likelihood to be allowed to change teams in exchange for the draft pick compensation, it would be surprising if the two teams didn’t continue to pursue a deal that would send Kevin Garnett to Los Angeles, and that’s where things might get complicated in the commissioner’s eyes.

For now, the Clippers appear to have landed one of the elite head coaches. And perhaps more importantly, the move is likely to help secure the return of Chris Paul, who is an unrestricted free agent this summer.

From Marc Stein of ESPN.com:

Sources tell ESPN that Clips believe CP3 will soon notify them that deal w/Doc Rivers’ clinches his signature on new five-year max deal July 1

The expectations will be at an all-time high in Los Angeles next season with Rivers running the show and with Paul back in the fold, and that’s even before we start talking about additions or tweaks to the Clippers roster.

Rivers coached nine seasons in Boston, and led the Celtics to a title in 2008.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.