Like sands through the hourglass, these are the Doc days of our lives. So the roller coaster ride continues for Doc, the fans and the rest of the NBA world. While Gary Tanguay went on his “Uno Sports Tonight” show on CSNNE and called Doc a “diva” and said he was holding the team hostage, Steve Bulpett on the Boston Herald did a little bit more dirty work and delivered some of the better updates as of late:
While the Doc Rivers situation has appeared to remain consistent in its uncertainty on the surface, there have been changes in his outlook regarding the options he will consider.
Whereas Rivers had said he would coach only the Celtics next season, choosing between another year on the bench or a sabbatical, sources say he is now open to other jobs in the NBA, providing it’s a very good situation and the team and the Celts can agree on fair compensation.
In any case, those close to the matter are saying Rivers should be stating his intentions within the next several days. He had reportedly planned to take longer to decide, but an outbreak of stories in the media has pressed him into acting sooner.
Multiple sources insist the odds are still “overwhelmingly” in favor of Rivers continuing on his current contract, which still has three years and $21 million left. “But even when he signed the five-year deal, I don’t think anyone there believed he was going to stay for the whole thing,” said one source. “So who knows?”
Two things here, and both are at complete opposite ends of the emotional spectrum. First, Doc is apparently now open to another coaching job in the NBA provided there is compensation for the Celtics. Second, he’s simultaneously supposedly “overwhelmingly” likely to return? Say what? Is another Doc, perhaps Dr. Phil available to help sort this out?
On a more serious note, if the above statements are BOTH true then it’s actually easy (in a crazy way) to understand why it’s taking Doc so long. I think though that Doc needs to figure out what he wants to do sooner rather than later. But I never bought into the theory that Doc is sick of Danny or vice versa.
Another insists Rivers is angry at reports he is at odds with Danny Ainge over the direction of the Celtics as they try to rebuild on the fly.
“None of what’s happening now is tied to Paul (Pierce) or Kevin (Garnett) or any of that,” he said. “There’s always been a very good relationship with Danny, and that’s one of the biggest reasons why he’ll still probably come back.
“The rebuilding has been coming for a while. It easily could have happened last year. (Rivers has) known all about it and been part of the conversations and decisions.”
For his part, Ainge has made no further comment after saying last month that Rivers would be back. In a subsequent Herald story, a source said it was 90-10 that he would return but added Rivers had still not ruled out leaving.
This makes sense, as does Doc’s previous consistent thoughts on how he would approach coaching for so long:
But some changes in his thinking have since come to light. For instance, after signing his latest contract with the Celtics and in conversations since, he has said he wanted to be like former Utah leader Jerry Sloan and San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, respected coaches who carved out long careers with one franchise.
Now, according to sources, he is said to be concerned about staying in one place too long and losing effectiveness. Rivers has been with the Celtics for nine seasons, and though he said late this season he has strong relationships with his players (he mentioned Rajon Rondo, who recently said he wanted to continue playing for Rivers), the notion that coaches have limited shelf lives has crept into his thinking.
Rivers is also said to be intrigued now by some of the high profile jobs that are — or could be — available. According to one source, it’s fair to assume he would want to be more than just the coach were he to move on, gaining some measure of control over player personnel in the process.
But, again, such a change of address would require that team providing compensation to the Celtics, who clearly see Rivers as a valuable asset.
There’s a lot going on here, some of which we’ve heard before (wanting to be like Sloan and Pop… having a strong relationship with his players and even mentioning Rondo) and some of which is new. That new part, the compensation, will only need to be discussed further if Doc decides he’s out. This is a huge decision for Doc, the team and the fans. This could represent quite the sea change for the Celtics and a rapid one at that. With Doc gone, it’s logical to expect Pierce and Garnett (and perhaps others) are sure to be the next dominoes to fall. It could possibly lead to Ainge “Executing Order 66.”
I love Doc and I want to see him here for his entire coaching career just as he said, like Sloan or Pop. But if Doc is not 100% all in, above the shoulders, then that’s not good for anyone involved. Bulpett ended the piece by saying all of the speculation has forced Doc to likely speed up the process very soon. That’s good, as long as he’s absolutely certain he knows what he wants.