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.
The Clippers haven't pushed Paul for a firm commitment to re-sign based on the completion of the deal, but Rivers is accepting the job with a belief that the All-Star point guard has decided to stay and play for him, sources told Yahoo! Sports.
"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."
After the talks stalled on Tuesday morning, Paul communicated to the Clippers that the hiring of Rivers and acquisition of Garnett would be essential to his re-signing as a free agent in July, sources said.
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.
[Related: Could DeAndre Jordan blossom into a star?]
The Clippers walked away from the talks on Tuesday morning, insisting that Boston's asking price of Jordan and two first-round picks was too steep for Garnett and Rivers.
Clippers management believed that the Celtics would eventually come back to them out of an assumption that the Celtics-Rivers relationship would be difficult to repair, but Paul's pushing behind the scenes accelerated the Clippers' move back to talks with Boston, sources said.
The Clippers negotiated a five-year, $35 million deal with Rivers that could be worth as much as $8 million a year with bonus incentives, sources said. Rivers has arrangements to bring some Celtics support staff – including assistants coaches Tyronn Lue and Kevin Eastman, and possibly others – with him to Los Angeles, sources said.
Only one Celtics assistant coach – Jay Larranaga – has a contract for next season with Boston.
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