Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
BOSTON — There are those who will be left slightly bitter by the way Doc Rivers’ tenure as coach of the Boston Celtics is coming to a close, the team finally reaching a deal Sunday with the Los Angeles Clippers that will see Boston release Rivers from the final three years of his contract in exchange for a future first-round draft pick.
By maintaining a public silence during these on-again/off-again, zombie-like negotiations, Rivers opened himself up to some criticism, from which he certainly is not immune. But those left disenchanted, believing that Rivers is grabbing a Hollywood life vest and jumping from this sinking Ubuntu ship, shouldn’t let a messy eight-day finish take away from what Rivers accomplished here over the previous nine years.
That’s it. The deal is done. Doc Rivers is the coach of the Clippers.
But the source said that as of last night, Rivers had yet to finalize a contract with Donald Sterling, though the Clippers owner reportedly is willing to offer Rivers a five-year deal worth $35 million — the same contract he signed with the Celtics two years ago.
“My understanding is that contract is not completely signed yet,” said the source.
Only after Rivers reaches an agreement on a new contract, and the league approves the transaction, can the Celtics departing coach and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge finally meet with the media today. Rivers said via text he plans to be in Boston today
There are multiple reports out there that say the Kevin Garnett to Los Angeles deal for DeAndre Jordan would not be allowed by the league at this point. They view the deals as one, which is not allowed, and breaking them up and waiting for a few weeks won’t convince anyone at the league office any differently.
As for what happens now? David Aldridge has an idea.
The deal allows Ainge to bring in a coach who is more comfortable with the franchise rebuild that will now certainly start in earnest. Paul Pierce is likely to be bought out by next Sunday’s deadline for $5 million, making him a free agent. Kevin Garnett is almost certain to be dealt somewhere sometime soon. Boston isn’t going to go to the bottom of the Eastern Conference; with Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley and Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger, the Celts still have a lot of talent to build around. But their days as a title contender are now certainly over.
Let’s try to put some real numbers on what this all means.
The luxury tax line for the upcoming season has been projected to be $71.6 million. The Celtics payroll at the moment of $76 million. That would carry a tax bill of $6.6 million. Waiving Pierce cut the payroll down to $66 million. So the Celtics, by waiving Pierce, would essentially be saving $16.6 million dollars. Toss in Doc Rivers’ $7 million and we’re up to $23.6 million in savings minus whatever they pay the incoming head coach.
That is… IF… they pay any extra for an incoming head coach.
Wow, Jackie MacMullan on Sportscenter saying there’s a possibility that Danny Ainge is head coach next year for the Celtics
— Umair Khan (@UKhanNBA) June 23, 2013
I don’t like that idea very much. I believe the GM should be free to do the very difficult job of being a GM and the coach should be free to do the very difficult job of being a coach. GM’s have to make hard decisions that involve little to no emotional influence. Coaches are supposed to fight for their players and have some strong emotional ties. Mixing the two is not something that works very well.
But back to the numbers… Saving the team somewhere north of $20 million is a big deal. Not only is that money that isn’t spent on a non-contender, it helps the Celtics avoid a repeater tax, at least for a season. That’s important. Because that $6.6 million tax bill for being just $4.6 million over the line would be $11 million at the repeater rate.
So the Celtics definitely had a financial incentive to get this deal done. Pierce is likely gone. I wouldn’t be surprised if KG gives Ainge a list of teams he’d play for next season in an effort to win one more before he quits.
As the Celtics-Clippers discussions dragged on, Garnett – who had to waive his no-trade clause – had become increasingly less interested in making the move to the Clippers, sources said.
Garnett has two years, $24.4 million left on his Celtics deal, but there’s a growing belief that he’ll play one more season before retiring and joining his old coach, Flip Saunders, with a ceremonial role in Minnesota Timberwolves ownership, league sources told Y! Sports.
“The opportunity will be there for him,” one source said, “but there’s nothing decided yet.”
Hell, why don’t we send him back this year? Play one more season in Minnesota before quitting? Sign-and-trade Nikola Pekovic (restricted free agent) at a decent price, throw in Barea or Ridnour to back up Rondo, and let KG do a farewell tour with his folks in ‘Sota?
I’m not sure what to make of the team that’s left over. It depends on who the Celtics throw around them, and how bad the rest of the East is. I can see them fighting for an 8th seed, and I can see them in the lottery. Rondo will have a major chip on his shoulder, especially since he’s going to get a ton of the blame for what’s going down right now. If that gets him fired up every night, then who knows what can happen.
Then again, Danny could just continue to the implosion of the Celtics and move Rondo too. At this point, everything is in play. The Celtics are blowing it up. And they have not done it very gracefully so far. I’ll end with more from Aldridge.
Anyone in my business who has ever held a microphone or digital recorder loves Doc Rivers. He is personable, quotable and (mostly) available, and he is a hell of a basketball coach.
But it is impossible to feel good about his leaving the Boston Celtics for the Los Angeles Clippers.
The problem is that no one is wrong for pursuing this. There’s no one to “blame.” But the result isn’t easy to swallow.
The rest of the links:
Herald: Never easy when dancing with the Clippers | Filling the Celtics’ draft needs: Small forwards | CSNNE: Rivers roll call: The C’s under Doc | A look back at Doc’s tenure in Boston | WEEI: Top 18 coaches to replace Doc Rivers in Celtics search for Banner 18 | Globe: Doc Rivers era comes to a merciful end