Though Doc Rivers is under contract for the next three seasons to coach the Boston Celtics, the team’s focus has shifted, at the moment, from retaining Rivers to completing a deal in which he and Kevin Garnett would go to the Clippers, a league source tells the Globe.
“Danny (Ainge) would still like Doc to coach and would still like to make that happen,” the source said, “but there’s more focus right now on looking at other options.”
And, the source said, the only other plausible option would result in Rivers leaving the Celtics to head to the Clippers, who would, in turn, send players and draft picks back to Boston as part of a compensation package required for Rivers to escape his contract.
Rivers has a non-compete clause in the five-year extension he signed in 2011 and cannot coach for any other team under the remaining duration of his deal unless the Celtics grant permission, which league sources say they won’t do unless they receive a level of compensation that they deem as adequate.
That compensation, as it is being discussed, centers on Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe and center DeAndre Jordan coming to Boston, along with two first-round draft picks.
Garnett has a no-trade clause, but, as the Globe reported Friday, it is believed that he would waive it if it meant reuniting with Rivers, with whom Garnett is extremely close.
A likely hurdle is Bledsoe. A league source said that when the two teams were discussing a proposed deal in February around the trade deadline, talks broke down, at least in part, because the Clippers didn’t want to part ways with Bledsoe.
It’s widely believed that one of the key reasons the Clippers haven’t wanted to part with Bledsoe is because they view him as too valuable if Chris Paul signs with another team.
However, a league source told the Globe that if Rivers did leave to coach the Clippers, “I guarantee that Chris Paul re-signs” with the Clippers.
“I guarantee it,” the source continued.
Paul, an All-Star point guard, becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
However, there are concerns on both sides.
One league source said there’s concern among Clippers management that a potential deal might include too many moving parts to pull off.
Another league source said that there is also the belief that the Celtics would demand too much compensation for Rivers.
“I know (Doc) is concerned that Danny (Ainge) just wants to get everything and anything and the Clippers are going to get to the point where they say, ‘screw it,'” a league source said.