Celtic and Clipper fans held hostage, Day 10.
The Deal That Won’t Die lurched to life again Friday morning as the Clippers called up and the Celtics called off what was presumed to be Doc Rivers’ farewell press conference, only to croak, or break for the weekend in the afternoon.
An NBA source told SportsCity that the Clippers, who slashed their offer for Rivers from two No. 1 picks to none, have discussed putting up their No. 1 in 2015.
Unfortunately, they didn’t discuss it with the Celtics, with Boston sources saying the Clips offered only a No. 2.
With Boston focused on the hot 2014 draft, an offer of a 2015 No. 1 would still leave a lot of ground to close.
Which may have been the whole point, explaining why the Clippers stonewalled and the Celtics declared the talks dead once again.
Unfortunately, nothing expires that expiditiously around here.
Rivers and GM Danny Ainge were scheduled to appear at a press conference Friday, at which Doc was expected to say he would retire.
At that point, the Celtics had given up on the talks, again.
With the NBA insisting the deals be done one at a time, and no assurance that Rivers’ arrival would be followed by that of Kevin Garnett, the Clippers slashed their offer for Doc to no No. 1s.
Yes, David Stern was right. The Clippers were willing to give up two No. 1s for Rivers, only because they knew they knew they would be upgrading from DeAndre Jordan to Garnett at center.
When it became a stand-alone deal for Doc, the Clippers’ offer dropped, or, according to the Celtics, disappeared.
That was the sound of Ainge, pronouncing the talks dead once more Thursday night but another funny thing happened on the way to another funeral Friday morning.
The Clippers made a new offer. The Celtics called off their press conference. They then spent the rest of the day getting nowhere, with the Clippers refusing to budge from their offer, one No. 2 pick, much less the No. 1 in 2015 that would give Ainge the opportunity to inform them it was 2014 or nothing.
Which was surely the Clipers’ whole point in a continuing negotiation in which they hold all the cards. With Rivers, as with KG, who’s expected to retire if Doc does, Ainge has to take what he can get from the Clips, or nothing.
The second deal the NBA spiked, sending Kevin Garnett to the Clippers for DeAndre Jordan, remains on hold.
With the NBA insisting the transactions stand alone, the second must wait until the Doc deal flies or dies.
Assuming no one feels like talking over the weekend after 10 days of hardball, check back Monday to see if it’s a funeral or a blockbuster.
In the good news, the NBA Draft is Thursday so they can’t mess around with each other forever.
Otherwise, heaven preserve them.