UPDATE: Here’s a transcript
Danny Ainge addressed the media tonight for the first time since the Doc drama hit the fan.
While it’s obvious that Danny and Doc share a strong friendship, Ainge made it clear that the decision to leave Boston for Los Angeles originated with Rivers. Ainge reiterated this point by saying he wanted Doc to be the next Red Auerbach.
What else did we learn?
- Ainge hasn’t spoken to any coaching candidates and will not coach this team
- No decision has been reached on the future of Kevin Garnett or Paul Pierce
- Ainge essentially confirmed the report of an altercation between Rajon Rondo and Doc by saying it happened 2 years ago. He insisted that Rondo had no impact on Doc’s departure.
- Confirmed the league’s ruling that the Clippers and Celtics cannot make another trade in the 2013-14 season
Wyc Grousbeck was not present at this press conference. He should have been there. Team president Rich Gotham offers nothing.
Doc Rivers also issued his first public comments, courtesy Jackie MacMullen:
“I always knew when I took the job with Boston that I would love the Celtics,” said Rivers, in his first public comments since he entered negotiations with the Clippers. “I knew I would love the tradition and the players. But I had no idea how much I would fall in love with the city and the people in it. Honestly, I get emotional thinking about it. I will cherish every single moment I had in Boston.”
He knows what his sudden detractors, who feel betrayed by his actions, are thinking: If he loved it so much, then why did he leave?
“It was just time,” Rivers answered. “I really don’t think it would be fair to get into all of that right now. I made a decision to talk with all of the Boston media following my press conference with the Clippers (on Wednesday), and I will honor that.
“I’ll explain it to everyone then. But to say I was dying to get out of Boston, dying to leave the Celtics is just wrong. That’s not how it was. That’s not how I felt.”
Ainge insists that Doc didn’t quit on this team and said he’ll give him a standing ovation upon his return.
My opinion differs on both counts.