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.
So Rivers is grappling with two potential scenarios: Coaching a team that could be a legitimate contender in the Clippers, which could be a refreshing start, or once again bringing one of the most storied franchises in NBA history back to prosperity.
The Celtics desperately want Rivers to remain in Boston. Ainge doesn’t want to drastically change the culture of the franchise with a new coach.
He has developed a nearly flawless working relationship with Rivers. Ainge handles the transactions and the two collaborate on major moves. There is a healthy respect and there has been so much recent change — Ray Allen signing with the Heat and the loss of assistant general manager Ryan McDonough — that Ainge wants to keep the rest of the family intact.
And this may be the primary reason Ainge asked the Clippers for so much in return for Rivers and Kevin Garnett. With Rivers committed to the Celtics for three more seasons and his attachment to the franchise, it may not be a difficult sell to get him to stay. He would just have to withstand leading a mediocre team until 2015, when the club has only the contracts of Courtney Lee and Jeff Green on the books and could be major free agent players.
So Ainge entered the talks with the Clippers in a favorable position. Rivers is not demanding to leave Boston, he has just been thinking about the possibility because last season took a toll. But the most important thing Ainge and Rivers have in common is neither want to completely rebuild.
Are you enjoying the off-season drama filled movie that is the Boston Celtics yet? Green-lit straight out of Hollywood, the Celtics and Clippers provided us all with a Saturday afternoon matinée that would make movie directors proud. However this is not a movie as much as it has because real, reality TV. For most of the day we read Woj-bombs and Boston and LA writers strike back with tweets and stories of possible reneged deals and posturing. Doc, KG, Pierce, the Freedom Trail, The Pru, TD Garden, the North End, the T’s Orange Line… everything short of the Boston Common was potentially going to the west coast. But now nobody is… for now.
In Washburn’s above piece, as well as several reports throughout yesterday’s afternoon trip to the amusement park, it was stated strongly that within the C’s organization, the first need/want/priority is to retain Doc as head coach. Ainge did his job by asking for the moon from the Clippers, but the Clippers apparently have made combo guard Eric Bledsoe the tipping point. Bledsoe is an intriguing player but keep in mind that Rondo is already here as well as Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee. There’s also the issue of his pending free agency and unless the C’s plan on over-paying for Bledsoe, he’d be either a 1/2-1 year rental or a chip for another deal at best.
That leaves us to where we are now. As of this moment, Doc is still here. The C’s still want him here. The key point is the last sentence in the above quote:
“But the most important thing Ainge and Rivers have in common is neither want to completely rebuild.”
Nobody does. And Washburn goes on to explain it briefly, yet very well said:
The Celtics can’t count on the lottery. They were burned by that game plan in 1997 and 2008 and while the 2014 draft could be fruitful, the Celtics are unlikely to acquire a lottery pick in a trade.
So if Rivers does return, and indications are strong he will, he and Ainge will have to formulate a plan to ensure the Celtics remain competitive so they attract players in the future. Rivers is a major drawing card for the Celtics, but the team hasn’t had enough salary cap space to delve into signing a superstar for the past decade.
That will change in two years, when the complete rebuilding will begin and the Celtics can establish a new identity. Rivers’s fondness for the Celtics is obvious. He’s been attending pre-draft workouts, talking with Ainge several times a week, and preparing for the next season, not exactly the actions of a coach who has checked out.
Rivers has the right to take his time to determine his future, but what has surprised fans was he has yet to publicly acknowledge he is staying in Boston. We have yet to hear those words, but his actions show he is committed. There is much work to be done for Ainge and Rivers, but as long as the coach is mentally engaged, the franchise should be sound in the long run.
Again, as of now, the “strong indications” are that Doc will return. But as Washburn notes at the end, Doc HAS to be mentally engaged for this to work. Personally, I want to hear him, Ainge AND KG talk about this and explain exactly WTF was going on. Even if they all return I highly doubt that will happen. Either way though I’ll hold off on blasting off on anyone until I hear some sort of explanation from all parties involved. Sooner rather than later this circus has to end and in a perfect world I’d have them all do a press conference or a sit-down type of setting to discuss this. Until then keep checking back for the next episode of “The Days of our Green Lives.”
Note: A lot of speculation about Paul Pierce has been discussed and the decision regarding Pierce is one of the biggest issues the C’s have to face. One such scenario tossed out there is waiving him, then re-signing him at a cheaper rate. At the very bottom of the Globe’s Sunday Notes, this is not a legal option per the CBA:
Also, there is the misconception that the Celtics would have the option to buy out Pierce’s contract and then re-sign him to a reduced deal. When a team waives a player, as the Celtics would have to do with Pierce, it is ineligible to sign him for one year.
So, there’s that.
The rest of the links:
Globe – Celtics’ asking price for Rivers is rejected | Globe Sunday Notes – Julius Erving reflects on his career | Globe – Older athletes are playing longer, pushing boundaries Boston Herald – Celts, Clips at an impasse | Herald Sunday Notes – Beginner’s pluck | CSNNE – Clippers reject C’s demands for Rivers