Celtics/Clippers “Trade” of Doc Rivers: Impact on the Cleveland Cavaliers


May 3, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics forward/center Kevin Garnett (5) gets a hug from head coach Doc Rivers after leaving the game during the fourth quarter in game six of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the New York Knicks at TD Garden. The New York Knicks won 88-80. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

We addressed the impact of the bigger coach and player trade that was rumored for the past few weeks between the Clippers and Celtics. There we specifically addressed how it could impact the team if they got involved in the trade itself, as well as Free Agency and the Draft. Now that the official “trade” of Doc Rivers has been completed, with the Clippers sending a unprotected 2015 1st round pick to the Celtics, we can look deeper. It is important to note that this was not an official trade, hence the quote marks multiple times. Instead the Clippers sent the pick for permission to talk to and hire another team’s head coach, and for the Celtics to let him out of his contract. The NBA, and David Stern (When does he retire again? A few days), have been clear that they would not accept this “trade” as a condition of a Kevin Garnett trade, due to specifics in the CBA. This has led many to state that the KG for DeAndre Jordan trade would not be approved by the NBA if that transaction was attempted.

This is where we have the first impact on the Cavaliers. As seen throughout the off-season, the Cavs are positioned to be a hinge point in many deals. With 4 picks in the top 33, including #1 overall, around $19 million dollars in cap space and young assets many teams can find a connection with the Cavs when looking to make deals. If the Celtics and the Clippers are attempting to get a trade through that gets KG to LA making it a 3 team deal could be one way. The Cavs could get involved by taking on a unfavorable contract from one of the teams, possibly Courtney Lee, and for their trouble getting a draft pick in return. The other option is to combine 2 rumor trades, including Paul Pierce to Cleveland. A base trade of KG to LA, Pierce to CLE and DeAndre Jordan and a 2nd round pick or 2 from the Cavs. Again with the Cavs assets many variations could take place and a veteran like Pierce or a functional wing like Lee could be a positive pickup for the Cavs.

The second impact on the team is with continued growth, a good draft and a veteran pick up or two the Cavs have one less obstacle in their way to their stated goal of making the playoffs. Whether they draft Noel, and wait for him to heal, or pick a player who will be ready at the beginning of the season, with good health and development from the current team should allow them to push for the playoffs. With the subtraction of Rivers it is likely that both Pierce and Garnett will be gone from the team. Rajon Rondo will still be left, but probably will not start the year healthy enough to play. To start the year the C’s will be depending on Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger to be the young face of the team, with Jason Terry, Brandon Bass and Courtney Lee providing the veteran support. The team’s obvious build towards the future also means they will be more likely to draft players based on potential the ability to provide impact right away. They will also be more willing to give younger players, like Fab Melo, court time to see what they can do, probably leading to an even worse record.

The last way, at least for now as things stand, is that Byron Scott will not be the coach of the Clippers. The Clippers had engaged in talks to hire Scott if Rivers was not available. Scott still has a chance for one of the other job openings but was clearly on deck in LA. The Cavaliers will still be paying Scott if he does not coach this year, and while Gilbert seems to create money any money spent on nothing is bad money spent.

There are many other impacts this trade may have on the Cavs, and more likely the rest of the league, including Free Agent movement, the draft and next year. Chris Paul is probably staying in LA. It will be tough for the Clippers to trade for Dwight Howard and without Paul to pair up with the Hawks probably aren’t an option for D12 either. The West may get a little tougher now with Rivers, and possibly Garnett in LA and the East a little weaker. The exciting part for Cavalier fans is that they continue to, at least in discussion/rumors, be near the center of it all.