Doc Rivers to Clippers is ‘far-fetched’ possibility, NBA execs say

Celtics Coach Doc Rivers on the sideline in a game against the New York Knicks in Boston.
(C.J. Gunther / EPA)

The notion that the Clippers could somehow get Celtics Coach Doc Rivers and satisfy the high demands from Boston has become a “far-fetched” possibility that L.A. “doesn’t see happening,” according to several NBA executives who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

If Rivers becomes available, the Clippers would be interested in hiring him and would make him their No. 1 choice to become their head coach, the executives said.

But when asked if he could see Rivers joining the Clippers, one executive said:


“I don’t think so. It is very complicated. They [the Celtics] have a guy under contract. Maybe they’d let him out if this happened or that happened. It’s all very speculative.”

The Clippers recently asked for permission to speak with Rivers, but Boston’s president of basketball operations, Danny Ainge, “turned them down,” one executive said.

What makes this so complicated for the Clippers is that Rivers has three years left on his contract for $21 million.

And Rivers hasn’t publicly said he wants to leave Boston and join the Clippers. It’s just been speculation on that score.

Then there is the compensation Ainge would seek from the Clippers for Rivers.

Two executives said the first thing Ainge would want is young players such as Clippers center DeAndre Jordan and Eric Bledsoe, and an expiring contract such as Caron Butler’s $8-million deal.

Then Ainge would want to trade a veteran player such as 37-year-old Kevin Garnett (he has a no-trade clause) and add guards Courtney Lee and Jason Terry in the deal to the Clippers.

Ainge also would want two first-round draft picks from the Clippers, the executives said.

Even if all of that happened, Rivers, who makes $7 million a season, would then have to negotiate a contract with Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who isn’t known to be a big spender on his coaches.

“You know, Doc can’t play center and point guard,” one executive said. “That’s a lot. But you never know how this might unfold.”


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