A deal that was originally thought to be dead, just got some extra life breathed into it.
Commissioner David Stern stated earlier this week that the NBA found it difficult to believe that the Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics were talking about two different deals for center Kevin Garnett and head coach Doc Rivers.
The two sides laid low the past few days, but now Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Clippers called Boston on Sunday, and offered a first round pick for the championship coach. There was no mention of Garnett.
Under league rules, the Celtics can’t outright trade Rivers, but can allow him out of his contract and give L.A. permission to speak to him. The two sides are “near” an agreement, according to Yahoo! Sports. But Ken Berger of CBS Sports said the league remains wary of a Rivers deal.
"League office will take a skeptical view of any Rivers transaction, sources say. Will be hard to sell as separate from player discussions," Berger tweeted Sunday.
In a separate deal, the Clippers could then try to deal for Garnett. Last week, L.A. was willing to give up big man DeAndre Jordan. The Celtics also wanted point guard Eric Bledsoe, but L.A. wouldn’t budge.
Boston had cancelled a press conference that was supposed to be held this past Friday, as reported by the Boston Globe, during which Rivers and team president Danny Ainge would address the rumors.
Rivers reportedly wants no part of a rebuilding effort, which many feel Ainge is trying to facilitate.
A move to the Clippers puts the 51-year-old coach in the thick of the championship hunt in the Western Conference, especially if Rivers can convince point guard Chris Paul to re-sign this summer.
Paul is expected to opt-out of his contract, and test free agency. While L.A. can offer him the most money, they didn’t start their wooing of the six-time all-star off on the right foot.
Clippers owner Donald Sterling made some comments to the Los Angeles Times that insinuated he fired head coach Vinny Del Negro at the 28-year-old’s request. That reportedly did not sit well with Paul, who didn't want to be seen as a "coach killer."
However, bringing in a proven championship coach and a Hall of Fame big man like Garnett could be enough to convince Paul to stay.
Sterling has preferred not to pay his coaches high salaries, but might make an exception for Rivers if it means Paul dons a Clippers uniform for the foreseeable future. Rivers signed a five-year $35 million extension with Boston back in 2011. He has a 587-473 career record, helping the Celtics win their first title in more than 20 years back in 2008.