According to several reports the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers are on the verge of an incredible player and coach swap. The Clippers would receive big man Kevin Garnett and head coach Doc Rivers, ending two relationships that helped bring the Celtics organization back from the dead nearly six years ago, as reported by Yahoo! Sports's Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Celtics also want Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe, a contingency that could be holding up the deal, according to Yahoo!.
Boston would receive center DeAndre Jordan and two first-round draft picks. Wojnarowski also explained via Twitter that the Celtics can’t actually trade Rivers, but can let him out of his current contract and allow Los Angeles to negotiate a new deal with the 51-year-old coach.
ESPN’s Marc Stein also reported late Friday night that Garnett, Rivers, and even Paul Pierce want to remain together. Pierce is the second all-time leading scorer in Celtics team history, and has spent his entire 15-year career in Boston.
The Clippers have been looking for a replacement for Vinny Del Negro since they decided not to renew his contract at the end of the regular season, despite him leading the team to a franchise record 56-win season. L.A. was eliminated from the first round of the playoffs by the Memphis Grizzlies, which may have sealed Del Negro’s fate.
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Celtics president Danny Ainge had said numerous times throughout the season that he was exploring every deal possible to improve an aging Boston club. Allowing Rivers to leave seems a curious choice, but moving Garnett’s contract does free up some cap space, and Jordan is one of the better young big men in the league.
The addition of Rivers and Garnett could be enough to convince Clippers all-star point guard Chris Paul to re-sign. Paul will be a free agent on July 1, and he reportedly was going to fully test the market. However, a championship coach and a Hall-of-Fame big man headlining the defense could be enough to keep Paul in Tinseltown.