The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Pau Gasol for pocket change, a few picks and the draft rights to Marc Gasol. They may prefer to have the younger brother if you ask now, but netting Gasol won them two championships.
The Boston Celtics gave up just about all the moving parts they could muster to acquire Kevin Garnett. The move turned them from one of the worst teams in the league to perennial contenders and brought the only championship the franchise has seen for over two decades.
The Los Angeles Clippers hesitated at first, but managed to bring in Chris Paul for Eric Gordon and other moving pieces. All that did was turn the franchise around from being the joke of the league to one of the better teams in the Western Conference.
There are plenty of other moves over the years where taking a gamble on proven talent over potential was the difference in turning franchises around, and the Clippers have been given the opportunity to turn themselves into true contenders for years to come by trading for Garnett and the rights to hire Doc Rivers – one of the best coaches in the league.
The problem? They played hard ball and refused to give up “too much” for some of the biggest winners anyone could ask for. The talks between the Clippers and Celtics ended on Tuesday, and it appeared the Clippers may have missed out on a chance to be great. That is, until Paul intervened on the situation, from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
After superstar Chris Paul injected his influence to accelerate talks, the Los Angeles Clippers are searching for ownership approval to complete a blockbuster deal to bring Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers and forward Kevin Garnett to L.A., league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Clippers management planned to huddle with owner Donald Sterling on Wednesday night in Los Angeles to get his approval and move on Thursday to finalize an agreement with the Celtics, sources said. Sterling met with Clippers coaching candidate Brian Shaw, an Indiana Pacers assistant coach, on Wednesday night.
The Clippers will send center DeAndre Jordan and two first-round draft picks to the Celtics in the deal, league sources said.
Under league rules, Rivers can’t officially be traded, but the draft picks are compensation for a release of the coach’s contractual obligations to the Celtics. Garnett and Jordan can be exchanged for each other. In the eyes of the NBA, these have to be executed as two different deals.
“Doc is taking the job to coach Chris Paul,” a league source told Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday. “This isn’t happening if Chris planned to leave.”
Garnett, 37, will waive his no-trade clause to join Rivers with the Clippers. The Clippers have to pay a $3.5 million trade kicker on Jordan’s contract.
Smart man you are, CP3. It’s not everyday that you get to “trade” for an amazing coach that is under contract with another team. It’s not everyday that you get to have a chance to play with a true hall of famer in Garnett, who still has plenty left in the tank and is mega-times better than the player he would replace in DeAndre Jordan – who unfortunately has not developed enough or lived up to expectations after signing the big $43 million contract a couple of seasons ago. Picks? When you’re expected to be a contending team and adding contending pieces, you can more than live with losing a couple of those, especially if losing the one man that will keep you a contender is a distinct possibility if you don’t give up those picks.
The thought of a Paul-Griffin-Garnett combination with role players and Rivers on the sidelines should make you drool if you are a Clippers fan. It’s up to management – the way they did when they first acquired Paul – to get this thing right.
Onto other news from around the league: