Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has already denied the Los Angeles Clippers the opportunity to speak with Doc Rivers about their head coaching job, and it appears that Ainge would willing to go even further to completely eradicate the "far-fetched" rumors, if necessary.
Rivers has been linked to the Clippers, but he is under contract with the Celtics and set to enter the third year of a five-year, $35 million contact. Ainge won't release Rivers from his deal without compensation, and if the anonymous NBA executives who spoke with Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times are right, the asking price is off-the-wall unreasonable:
Ainge also would want two first-round draft picks from the Clippers, the executives said.
That's a lot to ask for the rights to negotiate with Rivers. If denying the Clippers a chance to speak with Rivers was Ainge's way of politely saying "no," then the trade demands described above may constitute more of a "there is no chance in hell" message for rival teams.
Tom Ziller of SB Nation doesn't think Ainge should keep Rivers in Boston against his will for a rebuilding effort or half-baked playoff push next season. The sixth and seventh points in his column raise important issues that may eventually lead to a more reasonable solution during the summer:
6. The issue of what is best for Boston's future and how Doc (or KG or Pierce, for that matter) might excel in the future are distinct issues. Ainge should not fear the possibility that Doc and KG and maybe even The Truth go to L.A. and win a title with Blake Griffin and Chris Paul and the Celtics and Ainge himself will be seen as stupid. The Celtics do not have Blake Griffin and Chris Paul! I don't think anyone blames the Celtics for not having Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, nor would they hold the Clippers' success against Ainge.
7. Clearly, the Celtics do have an asset in Doc, and if he does not want to preside over the next phase of the team, Ainge should get something out of that asset. He is under contract, after all. A pick or two to boost the rebuild effort should suffice.
If Ainge is willing to ask for a realistic return for a coach who doesn't want to be a part of a pseudo-contender in Boston, something could still get done. For now, the Rivers-to-L.A. rumors can only be called "far-fetched."