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Sports

June 22, 2013

Rivers pulls outof Clippers' huntfor coach

The on-again, off-again talks between the Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics -- regarding Boston coach Doc Rivers -- are off again as far as the Celtics are concerned.

There is a slim chance talks between the teams could resume for a third time, but sources confirmed that both teams acknowledged that would not happen on Friday.

Rivers, under contract with the Celtics for three years and $21 million has returned to his home in Orlando for the weekend and is no longer interested in the Clippers job.

Rivers and Ainge had been scheduled to appear at a news conference Friday morning, but it was canceled almost as abruptly as it was announced and postponed until Monday.

It was not immediately clear why the news conference was called and then pushed back.

Rivers and forward Kevin Garnett would’ve been headed to Los Angeles in separate but parallel transactions -- the Clippers turned their focus from acquiring Rivers to first rolling the dice on acquiring Paul Pierce and Garnett later.

To this point, the Clippers have been reluctant to offer anything more than a second-rounder as compensation for Rivers, whom they had earlier agreed to pay $35 million over five years.

Frustration is indeed high on all sides and has led to both teams backing away from negotiations once again. Yet sources say the Clippers believe talks will resume again, while many league observers continue to suggest the prospect of Rivers relocating cross country can’t be completely ruled out until the Clippers hire someone other than Rivers. It’s widely presumed that the hiring of Rivers would clinch the signature of star guard Chris Paul on a new deal when Paul becomes a free agent on July 1.

Whether Rivers remains the coach of the Celtics -- who always have maintained publicly they would like him to stay -- or the Clippers remains to be seen. Rivers also has the option of returning to broadcasting.

The Clippers’ stance has hardened in the past few days because, sources said, they are happy with the three candidates they formally interviewed for the job -- former Memphis coach Lionel Hollins, Indiana associate head coach Brian Shaw and former Cleveland coach Byron Scott.

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