BOSTON — Doc Rivers will be the next coach of the Los Angeles Clippers if the NBA approves the rare but not unprecedented trade of an active coach, a Boston Celtics official told The Associated Press on Sunday night.
The deal would bring Boston a first-round draft pick in 2015, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it is pending a trade call with the NBA office. Rivers, who had three years and $21 million left on his contract with the Celtics, must also reach an agreement on a new deal with the Clippers.
Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss said the team had no announcement.
The tentative agreement on Sunday wraps up weeks of haggling over the deal and frees Rivers from presiding over the dismantling of the team that won the franchise’s record 17th NBA title in 2008.
The Celtics and Clippers have also discussed sending Kevin Garnett to Los Angeles in a package with Rivers for draft choices, center DeAndre Jordan and point guard Eric Bledsoe. But NBA commissioner David Stern nixed those talks this week, saying teams aren’t allowed to trade active players for a coach.
A deal for Garnett could still happen, but the teams would have to convince the league that it was a separate deal. The 37-year-old big man has a no-trade clause in the contract that will pay him 23.5 million over the next two years, but it is believed he would waive it to be reunited with Rivers on the West Coast. He has also discussed retiring.
Boston could also cut ties with Paul Pierce, the longest-tenured member of the team, who is due to earn $15.3 million next season; he could be bought out for $5 million. Pierce will be 36 by the 2013-14 opener and showed signs of slowing down this season, when he averaged the fewest minutes per game in his career.