NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

June 17, 2013

Clippers, Celts at impasse over Rivers

By Broderick Turner
Los Angeles Times (MCT)

---- — LOS ANGELES—Talks between the Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics on a possible deal to bring Boston Coach Doc Rivers to Los Angeles reached a stalemate when both sides refused to budge on their offers, several NBA executives said Saturday.

The Clippers have concluded that if Boston isn’t receptive to their offer and Rivers isn’t available, they will hire either Indiana associate head coach Brian Shaw or former Memphis coach Lionel Hollins this week, according to the executives, who asked to be quoted anonymously because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Executives also said Saturday that a rumored sign-and-trade deal that reportedly would send center Dwight Howard from the Lakers to the Clippers for forward Blake Griffin and point guard Eric Bledsoe is not going to happen.

Howard will be an unrestricted free agent July 1, and an executive with a Western Conference team said, “Either the Lakers will sign Howard or they will get cap space for 2014.”

Another executive said the Clippers aren’t looking to move Griffin.

In the talks between the Clippers and Boston, the Celtics were asking for center DeAndre Jordan, Bledsoe and L.A.’s first-round picks this year and in 2014 in exchange for forward Kevin Garnett and the right to hire Rivers, executives said.

“The Clippers don’t want to do that,” one executive said. They offered Jordan and a first-round pick either this year or next year, but the Celtics rejected the deal without Bledsoe, the executives said.

“The Clippers are not going to budge,” one executive said. “The Clippers don’t want to feel as if they are being taken advantage of. Boston wants to hurry up the deal because they know Doc wants to come to the Clippers.”

Rivers, if he were available, would be the Clippers’ No. 1 choice over Shaw and Hollins, executives said.

Rivers has three years on his Boston contract that pays him $7 million per year. NBA executives said Clippers owner Donald Sterling might have been willing to pay Rivers $6 million a year over three years.

The Clippers also are being told that Garnett, 37, would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to join Rivers in Los Angeles, the executives said.

NBA executives said Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations, told Rivers that the talks had stalled between the teams, and Rivers then said he was prepared to return to the Celtics.

If, or when, the Clippers’ focus returns to Shaw and Hollins, they will find they have competition from the Denver Nuggets for both.

Shaw interviewed with the Nuggets on Thursday and Friday and has another interview scheduled Tuesday, NBA executives said.

Hollins had to reschedule an interview with Denver from Saturday to next week because of travel issues leaving Los Angeles on Friday. During his two-day visit with the Clippers, Hollins met with Sterling, executives said.

“The Clippers like the coaches that are available,” an executive said.

If Howard walks this summer as a free agent, the Lakers would have ample room under the NBA salary cap to pursue free agents next year. The team currently has only one contract on the books for the 2014-15 season, Steve Nash for $9.7 million. That would leave them in position to sign two maximum-salary free agents next year and still have enough to sign Kobe Bryant for one more year at about $10 million.

Bryant ($30.5 million), Pau Gasol ($19.3 million) and Metta World Peace ($7.7 million) are all entering the final season of their Lakers contracts. Either Gasol or World Peace is likely to be waived via the one-time “amnesty” provision next month.