HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics don’t have to worry about finalizing their on-again, off-again trade for Celtics star Kevin Garnett and coach Doc Rivers.
NBA rules won’t allow it, so for the second time in three days, this proposed deal is dead.
Both sides were reportedly informed days ago that the league would not sanction such a deal, per Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, and NBA Commissioner David Stern has weighed in as well:
In a radio tour in the hours before Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, commissioner Stern appeared on several programs and put this saga out of its misery. His strongest comments came on ESPN Radio in New York, where Stern said, “The teams are aware that the collective bargaining agreement doesn’t authorize trades involving coaches’ contracts.”
The only incentives other than player contracts that are permitted in NBA trades, Stern said, are draft picks and cash.
“The teams know that,” Stern said. “It has been confirmed to them. … It can’t be gotten around by breaking it up into two transactions.”
Stern said — and a person familiar with the communication between the league and the teams confirmed — that there is no separating the two deals at this point because it is obvious all the pieces are part of the same negotiation.
“If you think those, at this point — having been all over the media for the last week — are separate transactions … I have a bridge that I would very much enjoy selling to you,” Stern said.
Stern’s words make it clear that it’s time to throw dirt on this deal and bury it under fantasy basketball trade scenarios that will never see the light of day.
And the league’s concerns are valid. Since when can coaches, whose salaries and true value cannot be adequately gauged or accounted for under the collective bargaining agreement, become a part of a negotiated trade?
It remains unclear whether Rivers and Celtics boss Danny Ainge have come to an understanding about a mutual parting of the ways. Reports out of Boston had them meeting Wednesday evening and possibly today to discuss the future of the franchise and the rebuilding process that could be on the horizon and what role Rivers would play, if any, in that reboot.
Meanwhile, the Clippers have kept their coaching search going (reportedly narrowing things down to Pacers assistant Brian Shaw and former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins in recent days) through all of the rumors about Rivers joining them to coach not only Garnett but prized free agent Chris Paul.
Where this drama goes next is anyone’s guess. But the Commissioner has made it clear to all involved that the rumored deal, in whatever form it’s in right now, will not pass league muster.