With a full understanding that free agent Chris Paul wants this deal completed, the Los Angeles Clippers re-engaged the Boston Celtics on the Kevin Garnett-Doc Rivers negotiations on Wednesday afternoon, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Clippers management believed Boston would eventually come back to them out of a belief that the Celtics-Rivers relationship would be difficult to repair, but league sources told Y! Sports that Paul's desire to play for Rivers – and with Garnett – has been a significant motivator for Los Angeles.
The Clippers have negotiated a five-year, $35 million deal with Rivers that could be worth as much as $8 million annually with incentives, sources said. Garnett will waive his no-trade clause to be a part of the deal. The Clippers would have to pay a $3.5 million trade kicker on Jordan's contract.
Behind the scenes, there have been several factions trying to restart the talks, and everyone involved – the Clippers, Celtics and Rivers – have been waiting for someone to make the first move, sources said.
"The money is not a hang-up in this right now," a league source told Yahoo! Sports. "It's about the draft pick."
The Celtics have insisted on two first-round draft picks in the deal, but the Clippers have wanted to include only one.
Privately, Clippers officials are expressing a stronger optimism about getting a deal complete, sources said.
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