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Doctor's orders: how the Clippers trade started

For the first time in this entire mess, Steve Bulpett reveals the behind-the-scenes machinations of this trade to send Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers to Los Angeles.

Mike Ehrmann

Like a lot of Celtics fans, I was heartbroken when I first heard of the idea that Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett were no longer going to be in Boston. It didn't matter where they were going. I wondered what happened to Ubuntu, what happened to "I want to retire a Celtic," and what happened to the idea of running it back next season.

With the trade on hold for the time being as the league prepares for the final game of the season, the Herald's Steve Bulpett has some details on how this all came down in the front office:

Source: Rivers never planned to be part of rebuilding

According to a person with knowledge of the situation, Rivers was deciding between returning to the Celtics and stepping away from the game when the club asked him if he'd be interested in any of the coaching jobs that were opening around the league. Rivers was said to have no interest in the Nets, who had fired his friend Avery Johnson during the season.

He was then asked if the Clipper job appealed to him, and it was then he learned the Celts had already had preliminary discussions with that team on releasing Rivers from the last three years of his contract and thus making him available. The Celtics were looking to accelerate the reworking of their roster and seeing what return they could get on all their assets, Rivers included.

If you really want to know how this whole thing came about, check out the article, especially if you were in the "I hate Doc for all this" camp. Paraphrasing Bulpett here, but basically: 1) Doc said that he was going to stay, but only said that in order to attract players to Boston, 2) Doc authorized Danny to approach the Clippers after Danny asked him if any of the available coaching opportunities intrigued him, and 3) there's still a remote chance that Doc returns to the TD Garden sidelines if he doesn't choose to take a sabbatical in broadcasting.

As put off as I am about the disingenious tone of Doc promising that he'd be back for a rebuild, knowing what I know now gives me some peace with the whole situation. It makes sense to me now. Sure, Doc's looking out for himself, but I also believe that he had the franchise's best intentions at heart when he let Ainge talk to the Clippers.

There's also this interesting note in Bulpett's piece: Doc would have control over personnel decisions with the Clips. We had heard that he wanted to coach Eric Bledsoe in LA and requested that he be kept out of the negotiations. Now, with as ugly as things have become over the last few days, I wonder if he'd include him in a trade just to get things done.

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