Neither Clippers VP of basketball operations Gary Sacks or Celtics president Danny Ainge would budge as the sun set on the East Coast Monday.
Los Angeles and Boston had reportedly been negotiating all day on a deal that would have had head coach Doc Rivers and future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett heading West in exchange for promising center DeAndre Jordan, draft picks, potential salary cap relief and/or guard Eric Bledsoe.
As of early Monday night, a source close to the negotiations told CSNNE.com that the two sides were “still at it” in terms of hashing out a deal.
Since the trade rumors heated up this past Saturday afternoon, several snags have occurred in finalizing any deal including the Clippers not wanting to part with Bledsoe and the Celtics wanting to dump the contracts of either Jason Terry or Courtney Lee on Los Angeles. Terry is due $11 million in salary over the next two years and Lee is due $14.4 million over the next three years. To match either of those salaries, the Clippers would likely ship small forward Caron Butler to Boston. Butler’s contract expires after next season. The Celtics seemed resigned to not being able to obtain Bledsoe as the day wore on yesterday, instead shifting their focus to clearing salary cap space in order to eventually obtain a free agent.
Free agents this summer include Atlanta Hawks swingman Josh Smith, who played with C’s point guard Rajon Rondo in high school. According to a Yahoo Sports report in March, the Celtics nearly pulled the trigger on a three-way deal at the NBA trade deadline in February which would have landed Smith in Boston, Pierce in Dallas and draft picks and expiring contracts in Atlanta.
Tale of 2 Pauls
The Rivers and Garnett deal to Los Angeles could have repercussions for both Clippers free agent to be Chris Paul and the Celtics’ Paul Pierce.
• Yahoo Sports reported yesterday that Chris Paul would indeed re-sign with Los Angeles if Rivers and Garnett were brought aboard.
• The Celtics are not expected to simply waive Pierce in order for him to sign with the Clippers during free agency, according to the Boston Globe. The Celtics must make a decision on Pierce’s contract by June 30.
• The Celtics could trade Pierce to a non-contender and then that team could buy out Pierce’s contract, allowing him to sign with the Clippers.