It seems that there is a difference of opinion over the circumstances of Doc Rivers' departure from Boston. The prevailing thought among many is that the organization decided to rebuild and Doc wanted no part of that and left. Here is what Danny Ainge had to say in his remarks after Doc's exodus to LA.
According to Ainge, the team sent Rivers a letter May 9 saying they “expected him to be our coach and fulfill his contract . . . That’s what we hoped that he would do.”
When it became clear Rivers was interested in leaving, Ainge said they discussed Rivers trying to get the Clippers job. Other teams expressed interest in Rivers, but were denied permission to speak with him.
“If it wasn’t good for the Celtics — which is what my job is, to do what’s best for the Celtics — if it wasn’t good for him, we just wouldn’t do a deal and he would come back and coach,” said Ainge.
Asked if he truly expected Rivers to come back after negotiations with Los Angeles became public, Ainge said, “I would have welcomed him back.”
And that sounds as though it was Doc's decision to leave and that the Celtics still wanted him to stay. But Doc Rivers has another story to tell.
Rivers, in an appearance on The Dennis & Callahan Show on Thursday morning, disputed Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge‘s characterization of Rivers’ departure as the coach’s choice. Rivers maintains that his leaving was part of a larger organizational restructuring, which included the eventual trading of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. “Honestly, I was very disappointed in that part of Danny’s press conference,” Rivers said while promoting a charity event to be held Wednesday at TD Garden. “Other than that, Danny and I have no issues. Danny knows, just like I know, that that’s not true.”
So, after all those years of telling us that they were on the same page, they have moved on to different pages. Doc had said at one time he didn't look forward to the rebuilding phase and his reluctance to play rookies at times backs up those feelings. Let's hope this doesn't get into a war of words between Doc and Danny. To me it seems that two decisions were made. One was that the organization decided to rebuild this season. The plan was put in place to try to trade Pierce and Garnett and that triggered the second decision by Doc to look for a contender to go to.
Maybe they made the decision to rebuild knowing that Doc would bolt if they did. In that sense, the organization did make the decision rather than Doc. It's kind of like the old chicken or egg thing. Either way, Doc is now the enemy and I'm looking forward to a fun season watching our young guys develop and fight hard for victories. Sure beats a team coasting and expecting to flip a switch that never turns on.
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