After talks in a blockbuster deal fell apart over draft pick compensation, Doc Rivers is unsure about returning to the Boston Celtics as coach, league sources told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday.
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge informed Rivers of the failed trade talks on Tuesday morning, and reiterated the Celtics' desire to have him return and fulfill the final three years and $21 million left on his contract, sources said.
Rivers will travel to Boston on Wednesday and discuss his future with Ainge. The Celtics and Rivers plan to reach a final resolution in the next few days, sources said.
The Clippers refused to part with two first-round picks and DeAndre Jordan as part of a package to bring Kevin Garnett and Rivers to Los Angeles. The Clippers had started to waver on the trade in the past few days, inspiring belief among many in the process that the notoriously frugal franchise had grown uneasy about paying Rivers the five-year, $35 million contract that it had negotiated with him, along with a $3 million-plus trade kicker on Jordan's contract.
The Clippers had reached agreement with Rivers in recent days on the five-year contract that included incentives that could have pushed his annual salary near $8 million, league sources said.
As much as Rivers wanted the Clippers job, Boston management wanted to use the deal to speed up its rebuilding process. Ainge and Rivers aren't at odds, sources said.
The Clippers plan to return to interviewing candidates for their coaching job, including Brian Shaw, Byron Scott and Lionel Hollins, sources said.
The Clippers informed the Celtics on Tuesday morning that they were unwilling to meet Ainge's price to complete the deal. There were no discussions about probing other ways to complete the deal, sources said.
Nevertheless, there is always an opportunity for the teams to still revisit parameters of a deal until Los Angeles has hired a coach.
This Clippers play was a gamble for Rivers, who has jeopardized his immense popularity in Boston with the bid to be part of a bold deal to go to Los Angeles with Garnett.
Rivers pushed for the Clippers partnership because of his desire to bypass a rebuilding process with Boston. As one source tied to Boston ownership and Rivers said, "You don't just move on from this and act like nothing happened."
Rivers has TV broadcast options available to him if he steps away from coaching, but he won't be able to work in the NBA again without the Celtics releasing him from his contract. Boston will demand compensation out of any team trying to hire Rivers in management or coaching.
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