The NBA Rumors are once again swirling, and they are centered around the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers, much like they were at the February NBA Trade Deadline. They involve the same participants who were at the head of discussions back then, with the question of whether or not we will see the Celtics trade Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers to the Clippers for DeAndre Jordan and future first round NBA Draft picks. While Rivers cannot officially part of any deal, the Celtics could release him from his current contract, which contains a no-compete clause. Garnett would waive his no-trade clause to remain playing for Rivers, and Jordan would come to Boston along with at least one or two first round draft picks. Paul Pierce was not reportedly part of the latest talks, although he is not the player who is blocking this potential blockbuster. Boston remains insistent on receiving Eric Bledsoe from Los Angeles, although the Clippers appear to be just as insistent on not involving him in any part of this deal. That seems to be the likely reason why these talks will once again remain at an impasse and fall apart.
Big mistake, Boston. Danny Ainge has flubbed this one up now on more than one occasion.
That is not a popular sentiment in this city. I get that. I really do. I love KG, I respect Doc as a great head coach and it would be very difficult to see No. 34 suit up for another team. But guess what? That is life. Sports is a business, and it is about doing whatever is necessary to build for a successful future. Like I said, I love Garnett, Rivers and Pierce, but let’s face it. They are not part of the future.
It is time to enter phase two of the Danny Ainge rebuilding process in Boston.
We laughed at him when he kept saying he had a plan. The Celtics were absolutely horrible and showed no signs of improvement. But then, almost overnight, Ainge pulled the trigger to acquire Garnett and Ray Allen, and the Celtics won the NBA Championship the next season, and have been in contention ever since.
But that has come to an end.
Say what you want about the Celtics going further has Rajon Rondo not gone down for the season. Sure, they would have been in much better position, and quite possible could have gotten past the New York Knicks. Big deal. They would not have defeated the Indiana Pacers, and would definitely not have been able to knock off the Miami Heat in a seven game series. It just isn’t happening.
The best case scenario would be for the Celtics and Ainge to relent from their insistence on the Clippers including Bledsoe in the deal and taking back Jason Terry or Courtney Lee for salary cap reasons. Trade Garnett to L.A. and let Rivers coach the Clippers. Include Pierce in the deal as well, if possible, or find a way to get him off the books. Take Jordan in the deal and one or two first rounders – but not in this weak draft; make it 2014 or beyond – and begin the rebuilding process.
And for those looking for a replacement for Rivers? Forget about all of these Vinny Del Negro rumors. Talk about a step backward or a foolish stop gap option. Hire Brian Shaw, who is long overdue for a head coaching gig, and let him prove why Phil Jackson wanted to appoint him coach-in-waiting with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Now is the time.