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Celtics Say Talks Are Dead, Clippers Say They’re Just Passed Out

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Death and resurrection having become the motif in the Celtic-Clipper talks about Doc Rivers, we now come to…

The Weekend at Bernie phase!

In the 1989 movie, Bernie invites two young employees to his beach house for the weekend.

The young guys arrive to find him dead. Fearful of being implicated, they prop him up and carry him around through all the revelry so all the guests streaming through assume Bernie has only passed out.

In this case, the trade talks are Bernie.

They may be dead (the Celtics say) with Rivers having reportedly informed the Clippers he’s no longer interested (according to a Yahoo report).

On the other hand, the report could he part of a ploy to get the Clippers to offer a No. 1 pick (they hope).

I’m told that Rivers is sitting at home in Boston, convinced the deal is dead, ticked off to the max at being dangled for 10 days while Donald Sterling lowballed the Celtics, while all around Doc, his neighbors muttered darkly about his loyalty.

The key question, is he past the point of no return with the Clippers now, more so than with the Celtics?

Propaganda aside, I’m told that the Celtics owners and Ainge recognize it’s time to break this team up and would prefer to get “a piece” for Rivers, rather than pay him $21 mill per to win 20-30 games the next three seasons.

Ainge is big on pieces, having accumulated enough in 2007 to acquire Garnett, even if everyone rolled their eyes at the fact he sent them to Minnesota GM Kevin McHale, the former Celtic great.

As for Donald, who’s not immovable — just the next thing to it — I can’t believe he won’t finally offer a No. 1. Unfortunately, team president Andy Roeser couldn’t put it on the table Friday when talks broke up because Donald, who loves draft picks — think about it, each one bringing a player who works cheap for five years — hadn’t authorized it.

Assuming Donald decides he can live without one of his precious No. 1s, the question will arise, which one?

The Clippers are reportedly okay with giving up next week’s No. 25 pick, but Ainge doesn’t want it.

Ainge wants their No. 1 in the hot 2014 draft but, surprise, so do the Clippers.

The 2015 pick? It’s a real possibility with Ainge, obviously a student of history, aware of the Clips’ tendency to implode every few years.

In a surprise, at least to moi, Rivers is considering returning. I’m thinking if he does go back in the lion’s den with so little shared belief among the Celtics that they can still contend, he gets something for it, like an agreement to release him from his contract after the season.

Only time will tell. No one can call anything involving Donald, who’s going to do what he’s going to do, and Doc, who would have his choice of plum jobs for years and doesn’t have to sit still for this BS.

Less is on the line for the Celtics, who’ll soon break up this team, whether this summer or next, than the Clippers, for whom the stakes are nuclear.

If Rivers lost interest, it’s because he was up to here with Donald. Doc was a Clipper in one of their typically grisly seasons in the ‘90s described in this piece I wrote. If he already knew Donald, the last thing he needed at this point was a refresher course.

So how will Chris Paul take the cavalier loss of  the coach he wanted most, costing the Clips a shot at Kevin Garnett, whom Chris Paul also wanted?

If Paul leaves, what’s to stop him and Dwight Howard from taking Atlanta’s two max slots, a scenario the two pals once mused about?

Tune in Monday to see if they revive Bernie or dominos the size of Stonehenge columns start falling around the NBA.

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Mark Heisler, an NBA Hall of Fame writer and 2006 winner of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame's Curt Gowdy Award, writes for Sheridanhoops.com, HoopsHype.com, TruthDig.com and Huffingtonpost.com, as well as Lakers Nation. | Follow @MarkHeisler

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  • ian

    The fact that you think the Celtics would win “20-30″ games the next three seasons is amusing.

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