Doc Rivers' non-compete clause complicates Clippers' interest

Jim Rogash

The Clippers want Doc Rivers, but his contract with the Celtics would make it extremely difficult to hire him.

The Los Angeles Clippers' pursuit of Doc Rivers has been complicated by the coach's non-compete clause. Rivers' contract with the Boston Celtics bars him from coaching with another team so if he does want to take over in Los Angeles, the Celtics could ask the Clippers for rich compensation, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.

The clause says that Rivers cannot work for another NBA team for the duration of his contract. He has three years and $21 million remaining on the deal. Rivers, 51, would be free to leave the Celtics, forfeit the remaining salary owed and return to broadcasting. But if he wanted to coach another team -- such as the Clippers, a scenario for which there is mutual interest -- the clause in Rivers' contract could substantially strengthen Celtics president Danny Ainge's negotiating position in asking for compensation.

The Celtics could demand any combination of draft picks, money or players from the Clippers in exchange for Rivers, although including players could get complicated because it would require a separate transaction and would be subject to the collective bargaining agreement as well as the player's association. The draft picks could be first rounders and the money could be in the millions, helping Boston rebuild its aging roster.

Rivers began considering a change of scenery as it became more likely that the Celtics will have to rebuild, a process the coach doesn't want to be a part of. The Clippers could be the type of immediate contender that would interest Rivers if Chris Paul re-signs, and if Rivers is hired then Paul would be more likely to re-sign in Los Angeles.

The Clippers and Brooklyn Nets both asked to speak with Rivers about their vacant head coaching positions earlier in the season, but the Celtics denied both teams permission. Los Angeles has since moved on in their search, focusing on Byron Scott, Brian Shaw and Lionel Hollins, but they have been keeping tabs on Rivers' situation and would like to speak to him and the Celtics if the opportunity arises.

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