The Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics remain engaged in trade talks which could result in Boston coach Doc Rivers and center Kevin Garnett moving to Hollywood, report Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports and Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. The two sides are reportedly hashing out details of a future Draft pick which L.A. would convey to Boston in exchange for the future Hall-of-Fame big man and the right to release Rivers from his contract with the Celtics.
Both reports indicate that Boston is no longer pushing for L.A. to include point guard Eric Bledsoe in the deal, which has ramifications for the Orlando Magic. As Chad Ford of ESPN noted Thursday, the Clippers and the Magic have "mutual interest" in swapping Bledsoe and veteran swingman Caron Butler for Arron Afflalo.
Ford tweeted on Tuesday that such a trade between Orlando and L.A. could be the "next shoe to drop" if the Clippers complete the rumored deal with Boston.
Afflalo, 27, was the most prominent player the Magic received in the four-team trade involving Dwight Howard in August. The former Denver Nugget averaged career-bests with per-game averages of 16.5 points, 3.7 boards, 3.2 assists, and 36 minutes for a Magic team which won a league-worst 20 games in 2012/13.
Trading Afflalo for Butler would be a downgrade in terms of talent, given that Butler averaged just 10.4 points per game on 42.4 percent shooting for L.A. despite playing a complementary role next to the likes of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, but it would enable the Magic to realize some salary-cap savings: Afflalo has another two seasons, worth $7.75 million apiece, remaining on his contract, with a third season worth $7.9 million at Afflalo's option, according to ShamSports. Butler's $8 million salary, in contrast, comes off the books at the end of the 2013/14 season.
Bledsoe would be the real prize in the deal. The speedy, athletic point guard is just 23 and has flourished behind Paul in Los Angeles.