Reports are circulating that the Los Angeles Clippers are in the market for a Boston-based big three: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Coach Doc Rivers.
The Clippers would send cash and picks as compensation for the under-contract Rivers and plan to offer DeAndre Jordan, the high flying, free throw missing dunk machine in exchange for Garnett, also under contract. Rumours suggest that the Celtics might buy the talismanic Pierce out of the final year of his contract to enable him to finish his career in his hometown.
Rivers makes a great deal of sense for the Clippers, who have looked like a well-oiled, but poorly coached team for the last couple of years. He would obviously want to ensure that star point guard Chris Paul remained with the team despite his free agency. He might also be encouraged by the prospect, rumour based as it is, that the Clippers are putting together a Blake Griffin-based package to try and tempt the Lakers into a sign-and-trade deal involving Dwight Howard.
If this all comes off, the Clippers would have a one-year window to make a run at the NBA title behind Garnett and Pierce, who would play alongside Paul and Howard and AN Other. Quite how lob-city would transition to this lineup is unclear.
As spectacular and entertaining as Griffin is, the Clippers will be highly sensitive to the fact that he is very one-dimensional. Griffin has had injury problems but even three or four injury-free seasons down the line the decline in his athleticism and current lack of a plan B for his offense will concern the Clippers who could cash in on their current star forward at present. The Clippers also look set to lose backup guard Eric Bledsoe when he enters free agency next season.
As good as Garnett and Pierce are, it does not seem to me to be a particularly smart move to bring the two of them to Los Angeles with a view to challenging for the NBA crown in 2013-2014. Garnett and Pierce just have too many miles on the clock to really help a team to that extent at this point in their careers. Certainly, neither seem to raise the standard of the Clippers enough to push them past, say, the OKC Thunder or even the San Antonio Spurs.
It seems highly possible that the pair, who, it has been reported, were keen to give it one more season with Rivers in Boston, might be used as bait to secure the signature of Rivers and that it is Rivers whom the Clippers prize the most. After three seasons of Vinny Del Negro, one can hardly blame them. But it will clearly mean a short term hit, a risky move given Chris Paul’s long-standing knee issues.