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Nuggets offered first-round pick for Doc Rivers before moving on to other coaching candidates

Adrian Wojnarowski
Yahoo Sports

Shortly after firing George Karl, the Denver Nuggets offered the Boston Celtics a first-round draft pick as compensation to pry coach Doc Rivers out of his contract, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

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Doc Rivers is in high demand. (USA TODAY Sports)

Nuggets CEO Josh Kroenke made a bid for Rivers approximately 10 days ago, informing general manager Danny Ainge of his willingness to part with a pick if the Nuggets were able to procure Rivers.

Nevertheless, Boston wasn't prepared to start the process of letting Rivers leave, and discussions never went beyond one brief conversation between Kroenke and Ainge, league sources said.

Denver quickly moved onto its current two finalists for the job: Lionel Hollins and Brian Shaw. Both candidates made strong impressions on Kroenke and new Denver GM Tim Connelly in interviews this week, sources said.

The Celtics are haggling with the Los Angeles Clippers over possible compensation for Rivers, with whom Los Angeles has negotiated a long-term deal, pending an agreement with Boston. The Clippers want Boston to release Rivers without compensation, freeing the Celtics of the three years and $21 million left on his deal, sources said.

Boston has flatly refused, and talks have grown dormant between the two teams.

Rivers doesn't want to stay with the Celtics and be a part of the franchise's rebuilding process, but the Celtics are demanding compensation before they release him of his contractual obligations.

Before hiring Jason Kidd, the Brooklyn Nets had their overtures toward Rivers rejected by Boston.

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