The back and forth between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers regarding Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett heading to L.A. seem once again reportedly off.
Several outlets, including ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, are reporting the Clippers pulled out because they were unwilling to give up an extra first round draft pick as compensation for Rivers. According to Shelburne's report, the teams have no plans to talk again and the Clippers are moving on with a second round of head coaching interviews with Lionel Hollins, Brian Shaw and Byron Scott.
Things could change by the hour here, but as of right now this deal is not happening.
So where do both teams go from here?
I am in the camp that Doc Rivers cannot coach this team again unless it goes through a major overhaul. If the Celtics simply add some pieces around the fringe, it is going to be hard to believe many returning players will want to play for Rivers. How can they think that their coach believes in them if he just tried to jump ship?
What seems likely now is Doc will leave the Celtics and take a year off, regardless of what Danny Ainge says about wanting Rivers back.
What this means for Garnett and Paul Pierce is less clear.
If Rivers did return to the Boston bench we can assume these two will be back as well, but if they are not, then what?
According to Sham Sports, Garnett has two years and $24 million left on his current deal and the second year is only guaranteed for $6 million. Would he decide to retire? Would the Clippers still try to swap DeAndre Jordan for Garnett? Would another team like the Dallas Mavericks try to bring him in to make another deep playoff run? Would Ainge be willing to trade him to an Eastern Conference team?
Pierce depends on the other two. I do not think there is any way he sticks around if Rivers and Garnett go. The question for the Celtics would be whether they just buy him out before the June 30 deadline or they try to trade his $15 million expiring deal after that. No doubt contenders would be clamoring for an extra scorer and secondary ball handler with championship experience, especially if they can get him at a discount as opposed to the full $15 million he is scheduled to make.
As for the Clippers, we now know DeAndre Jordan is on the market. The Eric Bledsoe-for-Arron Afflalo rumor is out there. Mostly, this about finding some reliable crunch time players (and a coach) to put around Chris Paul. The Clippers will find someone if not Rivers, Garnett and Pierce to try to contend for a championship immediately. Hollins, Scott and Shaw all have good pedigrees and, again, the Clippers have the depth and trade chips to get another guy or two to help them contend.
Or they will stand pat personel wise and hope a new coach brings a new culture and increased development to guys like Jordan and Blake Griffin.