The biggest rumor of the Boston Celtics‘ off-season has quickly turned into the ongoing saga that has become Doc Rivers‘ status with the team. Rivers, who was initially rumored to be returning next season just last month, is now the subject of a hot rumor that has some standing with the Los Angeles Clippers.
According to numerous reports, Rivers would like to coach the Clippers next season, but he is under contract with the Celtics for the next three years at $21 million. Long story short, Danny Ainge has all the leverage in this situation, simply because if the Clippers want to speak with Rivers they will need permission and they will likely need to compensate Boston in turn. On Thursday afternoon, it was initially reported that the two sides had “mutual interest,” but once again that isn’t expected to force Ainge’s hand unless L.A. makes a play — especially financially.
According to Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe, Rivers is the top choice of free agent point guard Chris Paul, so awkwardly enough, Los Angeles may have to make a play at the Celtics head coach, if they can. Ironically enough, Rivers’ dream scenario is to coach in L.A. with Kevin Garnett, who has remained mum on his own future thus far. Garnett and Rivers want to win a championship and the potential rebuilding process in Boston is what may be fueling their thinking at the moment. Holmes also reported on Friday morning, that Garnett balked on waiving his no-trade clause earlier this season, yet that may change if Rivers is also going to the west coast.
The Celtics have reportedly blocked the Clippers’ request to speak with Rivers, however.
So in all, Pandora’s Box may surely be opening up here, just two weeks prior to the start of the 2013 NBA Draft. Some form of a formal announcement or added aspect to this hot rumor is sure to surface soon enough. In addition, Boston also needs to weigh a potential buyout option for veteran Celtic Paul Pierce or make the decision to keep him on board for the 2013-14 season.
It could be a domino effect in Boston, but at the moment, the leverage remains in Ainge’s hands — which is a good thing for the Celtics.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS