By: Brock Sanders
There is finally resolution in the Doc Rivers negotiations. After four days of rumors, frustration, and anguish a deal has finally been made to send future Hall of Fame coach Doc Rivers to the Clippers in exchange for a first round draft pick in the 2015 NBA draft. The transaction is officially labeled as compensation in the form of a draft pick for a coach, but think of it as a trade or a buyout. The Clippers gave up a draft pick in exchange for the opportunity to sign Rivers to a three-year, $21 million contract.
More important than the trade is the impacts it will have on both the Celtics and the Clippers. The Celtics’ owner, Danny Ainge, recognizes the age of the team and realizes that they need to begin a rebuilding process. Soon, the days of the “Big Three” in Boston will be over. Ainge values draft picks, and plans to acquire as many as he can in order to draft talented young players that will serve as the foundations of the new Celtics franchise. Earlier attempts over the weekend to include Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in the deal with Doc Rivers led to a stalemate in negotiations. The Celtics may buy out Paul Pierce by June 30th for $5 million if they so choose, then they would most likely wait until the trade deadline when other teams are desperate for veteran players to deal Pierce. The Doc Rivers transaction gives the Celtics both a draft pick, and the opportunity to clean the slate and hire a new coach to come in and take the reins of this famed franchise.
The key piece of the puzzle that was missing for the Clippers was the lack of great coaching. They had enough talent to prolong their run in the playoffs, and possibly even the NBA Finals. Inevitably, Vinny Del Negro was not signed to a contract extension at the end of the Clippers’ season. With the addition of Rivers it greatly improves the Clippers chances of making a run deep into the playoffs this season, and launching them up the rankings as one of the top contenders in the west. Sources close to Clippers’ all-star point guard Chris Paul indicated that the signing of Rivers almost guarantees the signing of his five-year deal.
Rivers will be traveling across the country, 2,986 miles to be exact, and the NBA will be impacted along every bit of it. The Clippers are poised to make a run in the upcoming NBA Playoffs, while the Celtics are rebuilding and depending on how they use their draft picks, may be a very dangerous team in the upcoming years.