Clippers and Celtics want to swap a coach? That's small potatoes

June 20, 2013|By Chris Foster
  • The Clippers and the Celtics have been in trade negotiations that could send Coach Doc Rivers, right, to L.A.
The Clippers and the Celtics have been in trade negotiations that could… ( Jim Rogash / Getty Images )

The Clippers are trying to work a trade to land Boston Celtics’ Coach Doc Rivers.

It’s unusual, but it rates a distance second with other franchises.

Trading for a coach? Sure, hardly a run-of-the mill deal. But how about swapping owners?

The Celtics and Clippers pulled that off in 1978. John Y. Brown, owner of the financially strapped Buffalo Braves, worked a deal with Celtics owner Iran Irvin to swap teams. Brown wanted out of Buffalo -- who wouldn’t? -- and Levin, a California businessman, wanted to own a team in his state.

Brown moved to Boston and the Braves moved to San Diego and became the Clippers.

And everyone lived happily ever after? Well ...

Brown irritated Celtics’ President Red Auerbach with his hands-on approach -- three key draft picks Auerbach had set aside to rebuild the franchise for Bob McAdoo. Celtics’ fans turned against him. He sold the franchise in 1979.

Irvin held onto the Clippers until 1981, then sold them to some guy named Donald Sterling. The team moved to Los Angeles, and there have been times over the years when Clipper fans might have wished for an owner trade.

Now the two teams are thinking out of the box again with a deal that has a little déjà vu.

Footnote: The guy who brokered the owner swap? The NBA’s general counsel, some guy named David Stern.


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