What do you know? A Staples Center basketball franchise gave its fans the respected championship coach they wanted instead of allowing ownership to get in its own way–and It wasn't the Lakers. Times have changed. After weeks of off-and-on negotiations in addition to worries over Donald Sterling's willingness to pay a coach top dollar, the Clippers have finally agreed to a "deal" that will send multiple picks to L.A. In exchange the Celtics will allow head coach Doc Rivers to sign a three-year $21 million with the Clippers rather than hold him to his non-compete clause.
More importantly, this is bad news for the Rockets, who were considered favorites to land Paul if the Clippers failed to secure the coach he coveted. The finished deal gives free agent point guard a distinguished head coach he quietly coveted and quiets any concerns that these were the same Clippers which had become a laughingstock throughout the lead under Donald Sterling's thumb. Somewhere, Ray Allen is laughing.
Sources confirmed on Sunday that the Clippers will sign Rivers to a three-year, $21 million contract. They will send a 2015 first-round pick as compensation to the Celtics, who have agreed to release the coach from the three years, $21 million he has remaining on his deal with the club.
Sources close to the process told ESPN that the Clippers believe the deal with Rivers will clinch Chris Paul's signature on a new five-year max contract. Paul becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1.
Contrary to previous reports, according to league and team sources, the Celtics have been complicit all along in assisting Rivers make the switch from Boston to Los Angeles.
One source with knowledge of the NBA's thinking told ESPN.com that the league does not intend to change its stance as expressed by Stern in multiple radio interviews Thursday, meaning that the league would view any subsequent trade agreement between the Celtics and Clippers involving Garnett to be part of the Rivers deal and thus in violation of league rules.