The Clippers reached out to the Celtics on Sunday and finally agreed to give Boston a first round pick in exchange for the rights to coach Doc Rivers. The Rivers-to-Clips saga has been going on for a week, and has been downright painful for both teams' fans to watch.
Pending league approval, Rivers' deal with the Clippers will be for 3 years, $21 million. Although the league will almost definitely approve the Rivers deal, it would be difficult for the two teams to pull off a separate deal involving Kevin Garnett and DeAndre Jordan. The league has made it clear that any attempts at this deal would be seen as part of the Rivers deal.
The Celtics front office- The Celtics played an excellent game here in getting what they want. For some time, it seemed like they were ready to move on from the deal, and had real interest in keeping Rivers, all to gain leverage in the deal. Of course, there was no way Boston fans would have accepted Rivers; basically, the Celtics got an unprotected first round pick in 2015 from the Clippers in exchange for a coach that has already quit on them, a coach that had no chance of staying anyways. It's an ugly win, but the Celtics turned a lose-lose situation into a draft pick.
Chris Paul's future with the Clippers- Well, this about seals it. Doc Rivers agreed to the deal in full knowledge that he will be coaching CP3 next year, and there is no way Paul turns down a chance to play with Kevin Garnett. All that's left is his signature.
Returning Clippers players- They go from playing for Vinny Del Negro to playing for Doc Rivers. Enough said.
Eric Bledsoe- I believe that Doc will do wonders for Bledsoe. Rivers made a Rondo-Bradley backcourt work; imagine what he can do with Paul-Bledsoe. Compared to Bradley, Bledsoe is a much better athlete, attacker, and finisher; if Rivers can instill the defensive discipline in him that Bradley has, Bledsoe can be a star.
Vinny Del Negro- There have been rumors that Danny Ainge might consider hiring VDN as a replacement for Rivers. This coach-swap is a long shot, but it might be his only shot at a head-coaching job in the NBA.
DeAndre Jordan- This is a lose-lose situation for DeAndre. If he gets traded, he goes from a contending team to a rebuilding one with years of lottery to look forward to. If he stays with the Clippers, all this trade talk must have gotten to his head. At this point, the only good thing that can happen is that he gets traded to a team with a coach that knows how to play and develop him. He was hugely underused and undervalued by Del Negro in Clipperland. A coach like Doc Rivers will know how to get the most out of Jordan, but it might be better for him to start looking for a new home in Boston.
Celtics players and fans, especially Rondo- Players go from playing for Doc Rivers and with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, to possibly losing all three of them. Fans go from watching the remains of a championship team, to enduring the sure-to-come moody complaints of Rondo (Imagine Rondo having to play for Vinny Del Negro- Three months, tops, and one of them is gone).
What It Means for Both Teams
For the Clippers, it means five more years of Chris Paul.
For the Boston Celtics, this is the end of an era. This is the end of an era, an end that started with the departure of Ray Allen a year ago to Miami to chase a second ring, which he got (as a resentful Celtics fan, I call it blood money). This is the end of a beloved Celtics team that so accurately represented the city's fighting spirit. This is the end of the road, at least in a Celtics jersey, for some of the greatest Celtics in franchise history. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are in every sense of the word, true Celtics. They embraced the spirit of the team, the history of the franchise, the meaning of those words sewn across the front of their jerseys. They believed so deeply and fought so valiantly that I truly believe if you cut them open, they will bleed Celtics green. They are icons, even legends, in Beantown. But now, it is time for someone else to take the torch, to don a Celtics jersey and write history. Boston is ready for a new hero.