|After nine years with Boston, Doc Rivers has been traded to lead the Los Angeles Clippers. (latimes.com)|
The Los Angeles Clippers didn't fly as high, despite their "Lob City" nickname, as the organization and fans wanted under Vinny Del Negro. So the Clippers went out and traded for nine-year Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers to lead the charge into what they hope can be NBA-championship team.
It's no secret the Celtics will soon not look anything like what we've come to know from the guys in green. Danny Ainge, Boston's director of basketball operations, had been open with his thoughts on breaking up the Celtics big three (Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen) for several years. Now Ray Allen is gone and with Garnett and Pierce getting into the twilight of their careers (Garnett is 37 and Pierce 35), Boston is in full rebuilding mode. With Rivers gone, Garnett and Pierce's future with the team is uncertain.
Which brings us to Doc Rivers. By trading the coach, the Celtics now get out of the $21 million contract over the next three years it would have had to pay Rivers, while the Clippers will now pay that amount and give the Celtics a first-round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Talks of a trade involving Rivers had been in talks for the past two weeks and while names like Garnett and DeAndre Jordan were tossed around and it at times seemed like the trade was dead, both teams seemed to get what they needed. ESPN's Jackie MacMullan (link above) hinted in the story that the trade for Rivers could seal a long-term deal with Chris Paul, who is the engine of the Clippers team. LA will also have a coach with a history of playoff success (two NBA Finals appearances, one title) that could take the Clippers to the next level of not just making the playoffs, but being a championship contender.
Then there's Boston. The Celtics know the next few years will be rough. Their stars are old and have been injured, and it will take a couple of drafts to get the new, young talent up to a respectable point. Because of this, they didn't want to pay a coach $7 million a year with a rebuilding team and the team can now use that money in other ways.
There is still more each team can do this offseason to improve, but this is a start for two teams headed in different directions; the Clippers taking another step toward the NBA elite teams and the Celtics taking a few steps back to get younger and rebuild.
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