It finally happened. After what felt like decades of rumors and supposition regarding a potential trade between the Celtics and the LA Clippers, the two teams finally reached a deal. It may not be your run of the mill NBA trade, but the Clippers will send a 2015 first round pick to Boston in exchange for coach Doc Rivers, who will be released by the Celtics before being signed up by the Clips.
I should begin my discussion of this trade by stating that I am a Celtics fan, and a Celtics fan who is prepared for what appears to be a coming dismantling of the team’s roster as the team rebuilds, even if the gutting of the team means (and it definitely appears it will) that the C’s will deal Paul Pierce, my favorite basketball player ever. So, I’m not going to spend much time mourning the loss of Doc, as much as I love the guy.
Now, let me say that I think this is a good trade for both sides. The Clippers are a team in search of a title and they’re getting one of the best coaches in the NBA. For the Celtics, having a coach the caliber of Rivers is no longer necessary if they want to rebuild. (I still hope that they sign up a good coach as his replacement.) Doc and his rich contract had presumably become nonessential for the C’s. They’re getting a first round pick, which they could parlay into a good young player or into a not-so great player–that is just the way the draft works. The pick probably will be pretty late in the first round.
Supposedly, the Clippers felt that getting Rivers was important in terms of clinching Chris Paul’s return to LA. I’m still not sold that the trade will turn a Clippers team, which has only won 6 playoff games the past two seasons, suddenly into a more serious contender (such improvement will hinge on the development of Blake Griffin and additions to their roster, particularly at the wing position). I do, however, think the trade is a good start and could serve as a statement to prospective free agents that the Clips are after a Larry O’Brien Trophy.
For the Celtics, I think this is probably just the beginning of what’ll be a wild off-season. C’s GM Danny Ainge certainly wheels and deals, and wheeling and dealing is decidedly in order. The Celtics have a week to buy out Pierce’s contact for $5 mill, although that week happens to include the NBA Draft, a day that includes trades galore. Other players, like the aging Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo (who is somehow already 27) appear possible candidates to be part of the C’s next move.
Of course, the Celtics also need to sign up a new coach. George Karl and Brian Shaw might be two possibilities.
College Sports Town’s crystal ball has no answers to questions regarding what moves are coming in the Celtics future, but I do have a hunch they will be big. So watch out for that. For the moment, let’s all just digest what is a very odd, but interesting trade.