Clippers Celtics Trade Talks Dead After David Stern Threatens Veto

The Clippers Celtics trade appears off again, just hours after both teams revived talks for a mega swap.

The Boston Celtics were prepared to trade Kevin Garnett and coach Doc Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers in return for DeAndre Jordan and two draft picks, but the deal would have required a tricky structure. The NBA does not allow coaches to be traded, so the teams would have traded Garnett straight up for Jordan while a separate transaction would have sent two No. 1 draft picks to the Clippers for the right to sign Rivers.

The Celtics then would have released Doc Rivers from his three-year, $21 million contract, never officially trading him.

But the NBA appears to have caught on to the Clippers Celtics trade. Commissioner David Stern told ESPN Radio that it would have violated the league’s collective bargaining agreement in an obvious trick to get around NBA rules.

“The teams are aware that the collective bargaining agreement doesn’t authorize trades involving coaches’ contracts,” Stern warned. “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.

This would be the second time the Clippers Celtics trade has died. Just a few days before, the teams had called it off when the Clippers balked at sending two No. 1 draft picks. But Clippers point guard Chris Paul reportedly urged team owner Donald Sterling to persist in the deal to land Garnet and Rivers. After talks picked up again late Wednesday, the teams reportedly made quick progress and were prepared to close out the trade on Thursday.

The death of the Clippers Celics trade could another side effect. It was reported that the addition of Garnett would have cemented Chris Paul signing a long-term extension with the Clippers, and though there is still a good possibility of that happening it is no longer the sure bet it appeared before.