A proposed blockbuster deal between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers, that would include Kevin Garnett, DeAndre Jordan, coach Doc Rivers, Eric Bledsoe and multiple draft picks, has stalled.
The most recent and most glaring roadblock has stemmed from the Celtics insistence that young guard Eric Bledsoe be included in any trade scenario, sources said. However, the Clippers, looking to be extremely aggressive this offseason, have bigger plans that involve dealing Bledsoe later on in a different trade.
It has been rumored, but not confirmed, that the Clippers are planning to make a run at acquiring Dwight Howard from the Los Angeles Lakers via sign-and-trade once free agency commences, and thus, would send Blake Griffin and Bledsoe to the Lakers. However, team sources have explicitly stated that the Lakers currently have no interest in any dealings with the Clippers, and that the Lakers’ priority remains re-signing Howard.
One source even mentioned the Lakers would rather have Howard walk away as a free agent and have significant cap space in the long-term as a result than make a trade with the Clippers.
Meanwhile, the Clippers are preparing to have both Brian Shaw and Lionel Hollins on standby if they are unable to land Rivers as the team’s next head coach. It is likely that the Clippers will proceed with hiring either Shaw or Hollins by Wednesday or Thursday if the talks with the Celtics die down completely.
Currently, the sides have hit a stalemate over Eric Bledsoe, as the Clippers are really hoping to hold onto him for the time being. But the Celtics are highly unlikely to let Rivers out of his current contract with the Celtics if Bledsoe is not included, a league source said Saturday.
Another player the Clippers have recently expressed significant interest in is Orlando Magic shooting guard Arron Afflalo. Sources say the Clippers would be willing to send Bledsoe and the expiring contract of Caron Butler over to the Magic in exchange for the 27-year-old Afflalo. This deal is extremely logical for the Magic, as it would give them a young, talented point guard, while also freeing up some cap space. However, the Magic are in no rush right now to execute a deal, league sources said.
As talks between the Clippers and Celtics sputter along, one side will have to compromise. But do not expect the Clippers to be the team that compromises.
“The (Clippers) won’t compromise on this one,” a plugged-in source said. “They don’t want to be bullied by Boston.”
Another interesting aspect to the talks is that Rivers has reached out to Clippers management and told them that he wants to coach Eric Bledsoe in L.A., Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported. This has not been confirmed, but it seems like Rivers wants insurance that he will have a solid point guard in L.A. even if Chris Paul leaves via free agency. But Paul will re-sign with the Clippers if Doc Rivers becomes the team’s head coach, a source said.
Talks between the Clippers and Celtics are expected to resume Sunday, but right now, the two sides have many obstacles to overcome and the Clippers aren’t above moving on if talks do not progress by mid-week.