There's a growing belief around the NBA that Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce would like to join forces with the Los Angeles Clippers if things don't work out with the Boston Celtics, according to a report from ESPN's Marc Stein.
The future of Rivers, Garnett and Pierce in Boston has been murky ever since the Celtics lost to the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs. Rivers still has three years remaining on a contract that pays him $7 million annually, but he's reportedly hesitant to oversee a rebuild -- and there could be a major rebuild if Pierce is moved, or waived, and Garnett decides not to come back.
Rivers and the Clippers have shown mutual interest, but a non-compete clause in the coach's contract complicates a move. The non-compete clause bars Rivers from coaching another NBA team for the duration of his contract with Boston so Celtics president Danny Ainge would likely demand hefty compensation in exchange for Rivers.
Throwing Garnett and Pierce into the mix makes things even crazier, obviously, but the scenario of all three moving to Los Angeles isn't out of the question. With a little help from salary-cap guru Larry Coon, ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi outlined how a mega-deal could work.
There are several different scenarios in play, though the timing of a deal is affecting what kind of trade is made. If the deal was to be consummated before July 1, there would likely have to be two separate deals for Garnett and Pierce due to trade rules in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Clippers' unwillingness to move Jamal Crawford. In that case, Caron Butler could be dealt for Garnett, while DeAndre Jordan and Eric Bledsoe could be moved for Pierce, according to the ESPN report.
If a deal was made after July 1, there could be one big trade for both Garnett and Pierce with the Clippers sending Jordan, Butler, Bledsoe and Willie Green to make the math work. Separate transactions could also be made in this scenario as well -- allowing the Clippers to potentially be able to hold on to Green if that happened.
If all of this were to go down, the compensation for Rivers leaving would likely be a couple of draft picks.
SB Nation's Clippers blog Clips Nation had another take on a possible way to bring Rivers, Garnett and Pierce to Los Angeles:
My preferred method would be the following: trade Jordan, Bledsoe (maybe), and the Clippers' 2014 first rounder for Garnett. The Celtics also agree to let Doc Rivers walk (he already has an agreement with the Clippers in this scenario) and to waive Paul Pierce's partially guaranteed contract. Then the Clippers could pick up Pierce with their Mid-Level exception.
The second option leaves the Clippers with Caron Butler and their #25 pick, who can be flipped in a S&T for a SG to start alongside Paul, Pierce, Griffin, and Garnett. Maybe Andre Iguodala, if he wants to come aboard.
This scenario seems a bit more out there as it seems unlikely that Pierce would be waived and then agree to the mid-level exception. If the Clippers were able to pull that off and then somehow snag Andre Iguodala as well, however, they would have themselves quite a formidable starting unit with Crawford still coming off the bench.
In any case, as far-fetched as any of this may be, it is within the realm of possibility that Rivers, Garnett and Pierce are in Los Angeles next season.