Much of the Celtics talk this off season so far has been centered on whether Doc will return. As he does every year, he left the question open after the Celtics were eliminated from the playoffs so that he could take time off to unwind and consider his options.
Doc's absence at the draft combine last week caused a stir and led to more than a few rumors. Danny explained to those asking that Doc had injured his hamstring and so was unable to come to the combine. As the questions continued, Danny finally said outright that Doc was coming back. Speaking to Gary Washburn of the Globe, Danny confirmed that Doc would return for his 10th season as Celtics coach.
"Yeah (he'll be back), Doc and I are talking about our team next year," Ainge said. "(No suspense) from my perspective. We've got a great coach. We've got a coach everybody would love to have and he's got three years left on his contract and I think Doc likes Boston, too.Coaches get tired, though. It's a hard job.
"You guys are the only one (who made it an issue)."
Danny wasn't kidding that everyone would love to have Doc. There were the rumors early that the Clippers were making a play to get him. This week, the rumor was that the Nets asked for permission to talk to Doc and were refused permission according to Jackie MacMullan on ESPN Boston. In the same article Danny also reiterated his belief that Doc was returning to coach the Celtics.
Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge denied the Brooklyn Nets permission to speak to Doc Rivers about their vacant coaching position, team and league sources confirmed to ESPNBoston.com.
Reached late Thursday, Ainge refused to comment on the Nets' interest in Rivers and reiterated that he expects him back on the Celtics' bench next season.
"Doc has told me he's coming back," Ainge said bluntly. "I talk to him almost every day about our team and what we are going to do moving forward."
Jackie Mac's article also mentioned an offer that Doc received last season that he briefly considered for obvious reasons. Doc started his coaching career with the Magic. His home is in Orlando and that had to be tempting. But, again, he chose to remain with the Celtics as their coach.
Last season, the Orlando Magic offered Rivers the job of team president, which would have entailed everything from schmoozing with corporate sponsors to running the front office. Though he had previously insisted he had "little to no interest" in running a franchise, the financial windfall and unilateral power that would come with such a position (not to mention the proximity to his home base) gave him some brief pause. Ultimately, Rivers rebuffed the Magic and determined he wasn't done coaching.
This week, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck was on with Felger and Mazz and he also expressed his thoughts that he expects Doc to return for this season.
"Our indications are that Doc's coming back," Grousbeck said. "Everybody gets time to unwind and decompress," Grousbeck said. "And I expect Doc is gonna help Danny with draft workouts, I expect he'll be in the war room June 27 when all the draft and trades, if any, are made, and the over the free agency period a week after that."
Ok, Danny and Wyc seem certain that Doc is coming back, but there is one problem. We haven't heard it from Doc and that leaves some questions. And, it brings us to the article in today's Herald where they quote sources saying that Doc's return isn't a sure thing.
Despite the Celtics’ strong desire to put the matter behind them, Doc Rivers’ immediate future with the club has still not been decided. The word as expressed to us is that it is “90-10” that Rivers will continue on a contract that has three years and $21 million remaining. If he leaves the Celtics, it will not be with the intent of coaching another team.
Doc is now in Boston. Hopefully he puts an end to all the speculation that is swirling around whether or not he will return. Until we hear it from Doc's own mouth, the speculation will remain. Come on Doc, put us all out of our misery.
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