Posted June 12, 2013

Report: Doc Rivers considering stepping down as Celtics coach

Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Rob Mahoney
Doc Rivers has coached the Celtics since 2004.

Doc Rivers has coached the Celtics since 2004. (Damian Strohmeyer/SI)

Doc Rivers has been the Celtics’ coach for nearly a decade. It’s strange to think of Boston without him at the helm, and yet a report from Chris Broussard of ESPN The Magazine indicates that Rivers may be considering leaving the team. A snippet from Broussard’s report:

“Doc loves coaching,” the source told ESPN. “He loves coaching in Boston. But he feels it may be time for a change.”

That pull-quote is pretty vague, but Rivers’ decision could presumably be tied to the Celtics’ more general downward trajectory. Kevin Garnett, though coming off another productive season, is nearing retirement. Parting ways with Paul Pierce may now be in the team’s best interest. Rajon Rondo is still recovering from an ACL tear that forced him to miss more than three months of the 2012-13 season. Beyond those three players, Rivers has precious few role players on whom he can reasonably depend.

The fall could prove to be hard and sudden if general manager Danny Ainge starts making moves to prepare for the future, and Rivers could ultimately be left to coach a poorly equipped team through another trying rebuild. It’s perfectly understandable that he might want to avoid that possibility, and Rivers’ relationship with Ainge and the Celtics is reportedly strong enough for both parties to consider a clean break — potentially adding Rivers’ name to the coaching carousel:

If Rivers became available, he would immediately become the most coveted coach on the market. The Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers asked for permission to speak with Rivers about their coaching jobs last month, but Ainge refused to grant it.

There is a feeling throughout the league, however, that because of the closeness of their relationship, Ainge would allow Rivers to leave and go elsewhere if the coach requested it.

Rivers, who took over the Celtics in 2004, could be a great fit for many of the coaching vacancies, but finding him a new home is skipping ahead. His calming influence and clever strategic work played a prominent role in this era of Celtics basketball, and his leaving would add another layer of uncertainty to a franchise faced with inevitable reconstruction. Garnett and Pierce won’t soon get any younger, and if it weren’t challenging enough to build a new foundation and locker-room dynamic without their prominent influence, the absence of Rivers would only add to that difficulty.

Still, it’s entirely plausible that Rivers would consider leaving and that Ainge would entertain the thought of letting him out of his current deal, if only because of the juxtaposition of a successful working relationship and a shifting tide.

17 comments
JayTaylor
JayTaylor

Sounds like a classic Doc or Rondo ultimatum.

Maybe he's considering taking a year off and coming back as the next Lakers coach. (LA is one of the few teams that can afford Doc.)

Or trade Rondo to LA for 2 1st round picks and keep Doc. And simultaneously trade Pierce and KG in a quick rebuild.

captaincone9
captaincone9

And if anybody doesn't think Rivers is a great coach......you should hand in your nba fan card ....

captaincone9
captaincone9

All im saying is that Tibs and Rivers are the same in my book.....No one here is phil jackson or pop! Rivers from 2009-2012 made life a living hell for all of the teams in the east....and so has Tibs.....I was replying to another poster saying Rivers is overrated thats all.....

captaincone9
captaincone9

btw....can anyone tell me what Tibs has done as coach........

6marK6
6marK6

Uhh, why is this considered a big story every year. The guy has not really achieved any kind of greatness. If anything, he should have won multiple rings when he had the big three in their primes.

WilyCoyoteSuperGenius
WilyCoyoteSuperGenius

Very over rated coach. The Celtics should have let him go three years ago and hired Boston area native Tom Thibodeau. The Celtics need to rebuild and the sooner they face that fact and tank a couple seasons, the better.

InVinoVeritas
InVinoVeritas

He may want to go to Brooklyn to assist Jason Kidd.

JeremyJanishewski
JeremyJanishewski

@captaincone9  Had the winningest team in the league for 2 years. Went to the playoffs every year including last year without Rose, and with Deng, Hinrich, hurt and Noah playing on one foot. He has had a team with one superstar and average talent in the hunt for a chamionship every year he has been there. I'm good with that. Also, I like Rivers and the article is about him, why the cheap shot at Thibs. He is a great coach.

JAY20
JAY20

@captaincone9 

As assistant coach he was the brain behind that terrific Celtics defence. As assistant coach, he was the brain behind the scheme that "contained" Kobe in the '08 Finals. As a rookie head coach, he led Chicago to 62 wins, which was good enough for the best record in league, tied the record for most wins by a first year coach, and was the first 50 win season and division title since the MJ era. He also won the Coach of the Year Award that year... his very first year as Head Coach. He currently holds a .683 winning percentage in his 3 years. 

How many coaches can claim to have a better start to their careers than that?? There's a few, I'm sure, but not many.


geewhiz
geewhiz

@6marK6 If you actually watched the Celtics you'd know they were on the cusp of a few more titles.  I'd argue that if Garnett doesn't go down in the '09 playoffs they win 3 straight.  

WCoastPro
WCoastPro

@6marK6 Because it IS a big story. The Celtics have been elite for 5 of the last 6 seasons. What kind of greatness have you achieved in your life I wonder.

Let's recap they  lost in game7 in '09 to ORL without Garnett. Lost in game7 in '10 to LA without Perkins. Lost in game7 to MIA last year. Had no Rondo this year in the playoffs.  In '11 they got handled by Miami as did CHI & PHI that year.

Supposed to win multiple rings my arse.  

geewhiz
geewhiz

@WilyCoyoteSuperGenius You'd find that the vast majority of people actually employed by the association, and fans who actually know the game would disagree with you.  

WCoastPro
WCoastPro

@WilyCoyoteSuperGenius Again with a clueless comment. The Celtics should have fired him after losing game 7 in the Finals???? Now they're supposed to tank? Get real doofus. 

6marK6
6marK6

@WCoastPro @6marK6 I love the way losers like yourself personalize criticism of a stranger. I can assure you I have achieved infinite more success than you. Get a life, loser.

WCoastPro
WCoastPro

@6marK6 @WCoastPro  Infinite more success! Yeah a person as bitter and negative as you I'm sure you've been on the cover of Forbes magazine! 

I've seen your comments on this site. You are a total stooge. You're in over your head.