Although the Celtics would be in a tough spot if they don’t trade with the Clippers, Los Angeles doesn’t face the same pressure. Acquiring Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett and maybe Paul Pierce is one option of many.
The Clippers will continue interviewing Lionel Hollins, Brian Shaw and Byron Scott, and if they choose the best of those three candidates, they’ll get a good coach for near half the price of Rivers. They can shop Eric Bledsoe elsewhere. Pierce might even become a free agent and Los Angeles target, anyway.
The biggest drawback to the trade falling apart is how Chris Paul perceives it.
Really, the Clippers are in the same boat as a week ago, when Paul seemed more likely than not to re-sign. But he could always view this trade as a blown opportunity and sour on the Clippers because of it.
In the end, the Clippers might have dodged the bullet (if the trade is really dead and Paul re-signs). Garnett is 37, and Pierce will turn 36 before next season begins. As the Lakers showed this season, aging stars rarely maintain their level of play. Garnett and Pierce could still be helpful contributors, but it would be foolish to depend on that.
For the Clippers, whether they blew this trade or not, their entire offseason hinges on retaining Paul. That hasn’t changed at all.