The rumored NBA trade that would send Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers and former MVP Kevin Garnett to the Los Angeles Clippers is apparently close enough to happening for NBA commissioner David Stern to comment on it ... and he's not exactly optimistic it'll get done as the transaction currently stands.
The trade had its legality reportedly questioned by the league on Thursday morning. By Thursday afternoon, the commissioner went on ESPN Radio to note that the deal isn't going to get done if the teams are just going to try to circumvent the league's established rules regarding transactions.
"If we know what the parties really want to do is just one deal and that they're going to break it into two for the purposes of trying to avoid the restrictions that the Collective Bargaining Agreement places on them," Stern said, "... well, we know how to deal with that as well."
The NBA league office hasn't been opposed to sticking its nose into deals which don't seem fair to the rest of the league -- most notably the vetoed Chris Paul to the Lakers move -- and it would appear Stern is insinuating that might happen with this deal as well if something can't be worked out.
The biggest hurdles are that a coach can't technically be traded, but teams are allowed to receive compensation for allowing their coach to jump ship. The problem in this situation, however, is the fact that the Clippers and Celtics have made it seem like one deal instead of two separate deals.
That's a problem because the league prohibits moves that contain contingencies or side deals -- in this case, the Celtics allowing Rivers to get out of his contract without any specific compensation because said compensation would be involved in the lopsided deal that would be the aging Garnett for two first-round picks and DeAndre Jordan.
To make everything work under league rules -- or to appease Stern, basically, because the teams could technically split the deal into two separate deals and it'd be considered legal under the Collective Bargaining Agreement -- USA Today's Sam Amick believes a couple of different things could be done.
The deal could still get done, but one of two adjustments may need to be made: the Celtics may need to offer more in the deal than just Garnett, with draft picks the most logical possibility; the Clippers, who have been attempting to give up just one first-round draft pick, may be allowed to give up less in the trade. The real trade value of the 37-year-old is at the center of this discussion, as the idea that Boston could net two first-round draft picks and a respectable replacement in Jordan who is 13 years younger clearly doesn't calculate for league officials.
It's going to be very interesting if the Celtics and Clippers try to challenge the league and submit the proposed deal as is (if both teams agree to it, anyway) or if they attempt to work something out that is more agreeable for the league. Considering the multiple issues the teams have encountered just to get to this point, however, things could get quite contentious if everything needs to be reworked yet again.