Doc & KG to Clippers now "unlikely," LA to focus on Rivers first

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

In what is now the lowest dip of this rollercoaster ride, league sources are now telling ESPN that the trade to send Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers to the Clippers is now "unlikely."

There's not a lot of new information here from ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein other than maybe:

Sources said Thursday that one new scenario discussed by the teams, in trying to come up with alternative trade constructions, would call for the Celtics to simply release Rivers from his contract while the Clippers added draft picks or other considerations to the Jordan-for-Garnett swap. Stern's comments, though, would appear to leave little wiggle room.

Again, this sounds like a matter of semantics to me. Ultimately if this gets done, it'll be a wink-wink deal between the Clippers and the Celtics. Does "releasing" Doc change the structure of the deal? No. The nature of the trade is and will always be sure fire Hall-of-Famer and the only coach who he'll play for for rebuilding assets and draft picks. There is absolutely no way of getting around that.

However, the idea that additional picks and other players getting involved could sway things (Eric Bledsoe!, a Lee/Terry salary dump, etc.) is interesting, but who does the league think is getting the short end of the stick?

UPDATE:

With the commissioners' office virtually nixing the proposed deal, Shelburne and Stein are reporting that the Clippers have devised a new strategy that puts the focus on Doc first:

The Clippers' new challenge, sources say, is thus twofold. They must offer enough in compensation to convince Boston to let Rivers go -- which would likely cement the signature of star guard Chris Paul on a new contract when Paul becomes a free agent -- and then hope that any subsequent trade agreement they pursue for Garnett is ultimately approved by the league as a separate transaction that was not contingent on the hiring of Rivers.

In the article, S&S use the words "roll the dice" to describe the Clippers now secondary pursuit of KG and later Pierce. First of all this is hardly a gamble. This deal has been discussed and negotiated for days. If the two teams and frankly, the NBA, went with this route to get the trade completed in order to alleviate concerns of collusion, doesn't this make it look more shady? Second, as far as I can tell, this is the first time that Pierce has been mentioned in this conversation, at least by Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein. As I suspected earlier, it's PP's inclusion/non-inclusion in the eventual reunion that's leaving a bad taste in Stern's mouth.

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