Any news regarding Doc Rivers’ coaching future doubles as non-news. As many times as reporters delve into the topic, nothing seems to change. He will coach the end of this season, then he will decide whether to coach next season and beyond. At some point he will eventually take time off to visit his family, but he will not leave the Celtics and immediately coach a different team. (New York Times)
“He’s either going to come back to Boston or he’s going to take some time off and rest,” said Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ president for basketball operations, who hired Rivers in 2004. “It’s one of those two things. He’s not going to chase any other openings.
“He’s just been through three straight long years,” Ainge said. “It’s a very draining experience and I’m sympathetic. We’ve talked about this periodically over the course of the season, and I still don’t know what he’s going to do. I don’t know if he knows. We’ve offered him a long-term contract. He knows we want him back. He likes it here. We’ll just have to see.”
To watch Rivers on the sideline within the past month or two was to view a man begging for something, anything, to run smoothly. As rewarding as it must be to coach such a deep collection of Hall of Famers and All-Stars, the end of the regular season brought Rivers nothing but anguish. His face wasn’t that of a coach encouraging wins out of his team; it was that of a man kicked in the nuggets by a steel toe. Still, he calls his attitude better than it was last season.
“I’m at a much better place this year than I was last year, probably because I went through what I did last year,” Rivers said Saturday after the Celtics’ practice at their training facility outside Boston. “I’m so focused on the team and trying to win, and I’m going to put everything I have into it and decide again later.”
As for not signing an extension, Rivers said: “I thought it would be unfair to sign something and then walk away. I just think it’s smarter to do it this way.”
Rivers’ decision could be impacted by a potential lockout. Theoretically, a lockout could give him time off to see his family and then return to coach the Celtics, refreshed anew. The pull of finishing the Big Three era should also entice Rivers to stay beyond this season, to coach at least through the end of next year, when the contracts of Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett expire. But the pull of family is just as strong in the opposite direction.
As usual, any talk about Rivers’ future is purely speculation. He won’t make up his mind until after this season, when he discusses everything with his family and agent. For now, Doc’s only worried about one thing: the New York Knicks.