HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Doc Rivers coaching the Los Angeles Clippers is apparently back on and, this time, it’s all but a done deal.
The Clippers have reached an agreement in principle with Rivers to become their coach in exchange for a future first-round Draft pick, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, salvaging a week’s worth of talks by reviving and then reaching the deal by Sunday afternoon:
The Los Angeles Clippers have reached an agreement in principle to send an unprotected 2015 first-round draft pick to the Boston Celtics for the rights to hire coach Doc Rivers, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Rivers has agreed to a three-year, $21 million deal with the Clippers, league sources said.
Talks started again on Sunday when the Clippers offered the Celtics the first-round pick to free Rivers from his contract with Boston, sources said.
The NBA still needs to grant approval to the deal, but the teams have been led to believe that won’t be a problem, sources said.
The Clippers and Rivers believe Rivers’ arrival will solidify star free agent Chris Paul‘s commitment to sign a five-year contract extension in July, sources said.
Rivers told the Clippers that he was no longer interested in the position on Friday, but pressure from Paul stayed strong on Clippers management over the weekend and Los Angeles reconsidered its unwillingness to give Boston a first-round pick, sources said.
The key language to pay attention to here is that the “league has to approve the deal,” something that didn’t seem possible when Rivers was linked to the trade between the Clippers and Celtics that would have also included Clippers big man DeAndre Jordan, Celtics All-Star Kevin Garnett and future draft picks.
Concerns about Clippers owner Donald Sterling‘s willingness to pay top dollar for a coach will be silenced with this deal, as Rivers will receive the exact same compensation from the Clippers he was due from the Celtics.
This move also signifies the change in direction that has been rumored for the Celtics, who could be in the process of turning the page completely on their “Big 3” era. Celtics boss Danny Ainge is preparing for a franchise rebuild that not only does not include Rivers or Garnett, but also veteran All-Star forward Paul Pierce, whose entire career has been spent in Boston.
If that is the case, this is a loud start to what could be a wild summer for all involved. The Clippers have plans of their own, designs on being a championship-caliber team for the 2013-14 season in what should be a wide-open Western Conference race.
Rivers, Paul and All-Star forward Blake Griffin are excellent pieces to start with. But the Clippers have their sights set on even more splashy moves. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see how much of what they are planning actually gets done.