Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
The elephant in the Celtics’ Waltham training facility has bred a herd.
Doc Rivers shows up for predraft workouts, helps with evaluations and does what a head coach always does at this time of year. When not in town, he talks with his boss, Danny Ainge, on the phone.
Ainge has become irritated by the Doc question — whether the coach, who started this by indicating he might not come back, is returning — but the man who can end this strange, silent vigil hasn’t said a word.
Perhaps that’s because Rivers’ is anxiously split between two vigils of his own — the Ainge watch and the Kevin Garnettwatch.
Beyond whatever private considerations he might be contemplating, Rivers is waiting for Ainge to make two enormous, potentially era-changing decisions.
He has to decide whether to renew Paul Pierce’s contract by June 30, and whether to bring back Garnett. The alternative is moving one or both assets to build for the future.
Garnett, in turn, still might be debating a return, though according to a league source, he has not had surgery on his troublesome left leg. Garnett spent all of his off-court playoff time in a therapeutic boot, and dropped hints about how much the inflammation in his left ankle area cut down on mobility. But rest appears to have been the solution to his issues.
Rivers, who stays in touch with everyone, surely has talked to Garnett as well as Pierce, even if Ainge has not. But could the uncertainty involving both players be giving the Celtics coach pause?
Boston Herald – Doc Rivers stays silent
From all accounts there seems to be no doubt that Doc is very close with both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. So much so that the thought of returning without one, or both of them may be giving him pause to return to the bench. Think about it: when he first came here he had to endure a few years of rosters full of mediocre talent overall or young and frustrating players. Even in 2005 when they had veterans, it still wasn’t the same as KG and a matured Pierce. When you’ve experienced coaching those two for the last six years the thought of heading off a rebuild can be daunting and downright depressing. As fans, the thought can cause apprehension and repeated aggravation so just think if you’re the head coach, involved in it everyday.
Red Auerbach went out on top and never had to deal with it. Other coaches that have a great run also either step down like Chuck Daly did in 1992, or when Phil Jackson did in 2004 perhaps realizing that after losing in the Finals to the Pistons, they were ready to trade Shaq, leaving a young and volatile Kobe Bryant to head the locker room. Maybe that’s Doc’s biggest concern: having Rajon Rondo being that next leader without KG and Pierce.
In the Herald column above, Mark Murphy goes on to discuss that aspect of it. Now I’m not suggesting that Doc is going to write a tell-all book about the Celtics 6-year run and trash Rondo in the process, much like Phil did to Kobe. But there could be some element to that. Publicly, Doc has praised Rondo more than attacked him, but who knows? Jackson did eventually return to coach the Lakers and a Kobe-team and while that’s always a possibility for Doc, he could also just be what Phil was back then: burned out.
Either way, I still feel very confident that Doc will be back. He can still end all of this maddening speculation by going all Michael Jordan old-school and faxing a letter to the green world simply stating: “I’m back.” Or he could just Tweet an Instagram of himself sending a mass email to the media of his return. Anything works at this point and it will likely be coming very soon since both the draft as well as Pierce’s contract decision are at the end of the month. So, what’s up Doc?
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston – Grab bag: Spurring hope? | Boston Globe (Sunday Notes) – Tracy McGrady, in his first NBA Finals but as a bench player, reflects on his star-crossed career | NBA.com – Allen finds ‘Pure Joy’ in latest finals trip