The Doc Rivers offseason dance gets crazier with each passing day. Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne reported on ESPN Thursday that Rivers and the Clippers have “strong mutual interest” and, as the LA Times previously reported, Rivers would be the Clippers No. 1 choice for their head coaching position should he leave Boston.
Sources told ESPN.com that Rivers is highly intrigued by the idea of coaching the Clippers in the event that he and the Celtics part company after nine seasons together and one championship in 2008. Sources say that the Clippers, meanwhile, would immediately vault Rivers to the top of their list if he became available as they continue a coaching search that, to this point, has focused on Brian Shaw, Byron Scott and Lionel Hollins.
According to the report, the Boston Celtics would not consider releasing Rivers from his contract–3 years, $21 million–to coach another team, unless they received compensation in return. Baxter Holmes of The Boston Globe ($) reported that the Celtics would be looking for multiple first round picks over the next few years, or young talent in return.
Stephen A. Smith previously reported that the Celtics and Clippers might engage in a blockbuster deal to potentially ‘trade’ Rivers to Los Angeles, which Celtics general manager Danny Ainge reportedly responded to with a laugh.
The Celtics and Clippers were rumored to be in trade talks at the February trade deadline, which Stein and Shelburne report were centered around both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
ESPN.com has also learned that the Celtics and Clippers — in an offshoot of February’s Kevin Garnett-to-L.A. trade talks — discussed expanded trade scenarios that actually could have sent both Garnett and close friend Paul Pierce to the Clippers before the league’s Feb. 21 trade deadline.
Sources say that those talks, before breaking down, were centered around Boston getting back both prized Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe and young center DeAndre Jordan and did not involve Clippers star forward Blake Griffin.
Garnett has a no-trade clause in his contract, but he may be more amenable to a trade if one or both of his pals, Rivers and Pierce, were joining him in Los Angeles. The Clippers seem adamant about improving their roster in order to lure Chris Paul, who is an unrestricted free agent, back to Los Angeles.
Garnett makes his offseason home in Malibu, Cal., while Pierce grew up in nearby Inglewood. Pierce can be bought out from his $15.3 million contract for $5 million before June 30th. Garnett’s 2014 contract is only partially guaranteed.
Paul was reportedly at odds with former Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro, who was recently fired. The Clippers have interviewed Byron Scott, Lionel Hollins, and Brian Shaw for the opening.