Sources: 'Substantive' talks; no deal

The wait continues in the Doc Rivers saga. The latest from ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne:

It appears that the saga surrounding Doc Rivers and his proposed cross-country relocation from the Boston Celtics' bench to the Los Angeles Clippers' bench will drag out at least one more day.

Sources close to the process told ESPN.com that the Celtics and Clippers held "substantive discussions" Monday on the proposed multi-layered transactions that would send Rivers and Celtics star Kevin Garnett to Los Angeles. But the teams, sources say, remain unable to agree on a final trade framework to go through with the two deals, even after Boston relented on its insistence that the Clippers include prized young guard Eric Bledsoe as part of the package for Rivers and Garnett.

Another element of the talks, sources said, is the negotiations between Rivers and the Clippers on a coaching contract. Rivers has three years left on his original five-year, $35 million deal with the Celtics and will be looking to stay in the same salary range if Boston ultimately receives what it deems sufficient compensation to let the 51-year-old out of that deal.

So the Clippers, in what NBA coaching sources are terming a "separate process," have moved ahead with their coaching search just in case, for one reason or another, they'll be unable to pry Rivers out of Boston. They've arranged sitdowns this week for Byron Scott (Tuesday) and Brian Shaw (Wednesday) with Clippers owner Donald Sterling, with the other finalist for the Clippers' job before the pursuit of Rivers got serious -- Lionel Hollins -- having already met with Sterling.

Yet numerous sources connected to talks continued to express optimism Monday that the Celtics and Clippers will agree to terms this week, with some interpreting the Clippers' plans to resume talks with the likes of Shaw and Scott as their latest thinly veiled message to the Celtics that they aren't afraid to walk away from the table.

"It's a dance right now," said one source close to the process. "I think it'll eventually happen. They're just staring at each other."

Said another: "It's certainly not dead. I think they have an idea of the main parties who would be involved, but now they've got to figure out smaller details and negotiate a deal with Doc."

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