Stop me when you have heard this before: The proposed blockbuster deal between the Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics is pretty much dead.
Both teams should have known that this potential mega deal was not permitted under league rules, as they were informed as much earlier in the week, multiple league sources said. CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger first reported the news that the teams were informed of the illegality of the deal.
Commissioner David Stern appeared on multiple radio shows around the country Thursday and basically said that the NBA league office would veto any trade between the two teams in its current state.
“The teams are aware that the collective bargaining agreement doesn’t authorize trades involving coaches’ contracts,” Stern told ESPN Radio in New York.
One high-ranking person in the league office also said Thursday that it does not appear that the current proposal on the table follows the guidelines the current collective bargaining agreement sets.
The Clippers want Doc Rivers as their next head coach, but the current framework of a trade between the Celtics and the Clippers would allow the Clippers the benefit of circumventing cap rules, because Rivers is not a player, he is a coach. Both Boston and Los Angeles were given this notice by the league earlier in the week, a source said, so it was assumed that they had altered the trade when they resumed negotiations on Wednesday.
On Thursday afternoon, the Clippers’ gameplan changed. The team is now putting acquiring Rivers as its number one priority and will explore other ways to land Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce later, a source with knowledge of the team’s thinking said. But that does not mean that the Clippers are giving up on the current situation entirely.
"They’re aggressively trying to get a deal done that follows NBA rules," a league source said. It is likely that the Clippers and Celtics will have to come up with a new combination of players and draft picks in order to satisfy the NBA.
The teams have not spoken much on Thursday, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions, and the deal currently has no legs. It is expected that the Clippers will exhaust every possible avenue as they remain determined and will keep their eyes on the prize.