The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers appeared to be done with a proposed mega deal that would have sent coach Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett to L.A, but the teams re-opened talks on Wednesday and have quickly made progress.
A source close to the process said the teams met Wednesday and ironed out several sticking points, namely the Clippers hesitancy to send two first-round picks to Boston. The likely structure of the deal would be two separate trades — the Clippers sending center DeAndre Jordan straight up for Garnett, and another trade sending two first-round picks to Boston as compensation for releasing Rivers.
But there are still some difficulties. Boston would need to release Rivers out of his three-year, $21 million contract, and both teams would need to convince league officials that the deals were not contingent upon each other, as the league prohibits coaches from being traded.
For the Clippers, the trade would open up several possibilities. The addition of Garnett would likely guarantee that point guard Chris Paul signs a long-term contract with the team rather than testing free agency. With Paul signed to a long-term deal, the Clippers could be free to shop backup point guard Eric Bledsoe.The Celtics had tried to included Bledsoe in the trade proposal, but the Clippers refused as he was deemed too valuable.
Los Angeles first looked at Bledsoe as an insurance policy if Paul left the team but also considered him an important piece for a potential future trade. With rumors that the Clippers were also trying to shop Blake Griffin, the team has shown a willingness to make big moves to follow-up its first ever Pacific Division title.
The Clippers had a disappointing end to the season, losing in the first round to the No. 6 seed Memphis Grizzlies. The trade would show them committing to competing in the Western Conference with teams like the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Clippers and Celtics could now close out the deal on Thursday if talks go well enough, sources said.