The reason the Clippers walked back to the negotiating table with the Celtics Wednesday is Chris Paul, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Tuesday, when the Clippers were supposedly fine with the deal's death, reports stated that Paul could live with the fact that the team wasn't able to bring in Kevin Garnett via trade and Doc Rivers as the team's head coach. And as such, the deal was supposedly dead.
But it seems Paul would really like Rivers as his head coach, and he'd really like to play alongside Garnett. Wojnarowski writes that the Clippers had expected the Celtics to eventually restart talks due to the awkwardness of bringing Rivers back after he was so clearly interested in coaching another team. But Paul's wants are extremely important to the team, considering he can opt out and sign elsewhere this offseason if he so chooses.
Right now, the deal is being held up by draft picks: the Clippers want to trade DeAndre Jordan and one draft pick for Kevin Garnett and the Celtics' agreement to waive the non-compete clause in Doc Rivers' contract, while the Celtics want two draft picks. It's true that the Clippers are giving up a lot for the ability to bring in an aging star and the opportunity to pay $7 million -- the most of any coach in the league -- to Rivers, and that they should be wary of giving up too many future assets.
But if they get stingy over a single draft pick -- and one that wouldn't be a particularly good one, if they assemble a good team -- Chris Paul could walk. And that will hurt their franchise's future much more than a host of draft picks. They have a better chance of keeping him if the trade goes through, and hence, they're back in discussions.
(From the "I told you so" department, Mike Prada warned us that the trade probably wasn't dead Tuesday.)