The Celtics are not doing the deal without Eric Bledsoe. The Clippers are absolutely not including Eric Bledose in any deal. So, deal off, right?
Unless someone blinks. Or unless someone offers a creative counter solution.
Here's one solution crafted by Bill Simmons.
CORRECTED: Don't rule out this trade: Jordan, Butler, Green + a 1st rounder for Doc, KG + the Terry/Lee contracts. Clips keep Bledsoe.— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) June 16, 2013
So we wouldn't get Bledsoe, but we'd offload some of the salary commitments we made last year. An interesting scenario. Especially since you'd imagine that Ainge would also be motivated to offload salaries as part of follow up deals.
Another thing that I still can't wrap my mind around (and hasn't really been well reported - perhaps due to lack of information) is what all this means to Paul Pierce. If he's left out of the deal completely, does that mean he might just be allowed to retire a Celtic next year? Perhaps that is Wyc's way of softening the blow to the fanbase for seeing Doc and KG exit stage right. Or maybe I'm reading that all wrong and the Celtics would simply release him for the cap savings and be done with it.
Or perhaps he's actually part of this whole trade negotiation but nobody (even off the record) is allowed to say so because of tampering reasons. You see, to get him to the Clippers, the easiest way is to release him, assume he gets through waivers (likely), and have the Clippers sign him to the MLE. But to assure that happens, the Clippers would have to have a wink-wink, nod-nod agreement from Pierce that he'll sign with them. Regardless, his presence in the "package" deal can't be spoken of in terms of compensation. It would have to be "here's the deal for Doc, here's the deal for Garnett" and a few weeks later when free agents can sign "hey what do you know, it looks like Pierce would like to sign with the Clippers!"
So if that's the case, I can understand why Danny Ainge would be pressing for every last scrap of leverage in the KG/Doc deal since it could very well end up being a 3 set. Still, there's nothing binding and if Pierce hits the open market and gets a sweetheart deal from someone else, he could take it. Or if someone out of the blue decides to claim him, the Clippers would have no recourse for saying "hey, we traded for that guy!"
That's just one humble blogger's guess though, and I'm actually pretty sure that it is even more complex than that. For example - what if he's traded to a 3rd team looking to shave cap space and THEN he signs with the Clippers. Even harder to work out and/or keep on the down-low.
But I feel like this deal is far from being over and I'm sure that there are dozens of creative machinations that have already been discussed, will be discussed, and even as transparent as the negotiations have been, we'll still only hear about 5% of it.
I really don't envy the guys digging up inside information. As much as I'd like to know, there's nothing we can really do about it and "getting the scoop" is pretty fleeting. Unless this is your full time job, it must be very, very hard to get reliable information. But I digress.
My gut tells me that this deal will still get done and if it doesn't, there will be something else creative that Danny has up his sleeve to work something out with another team. Perhaps not with Doc going elsewhere, but you never know.