Blog Entry

Rivers' return keeps Celtics whole

Posted on: May 13, 2011 12:39 pm
Edited on: May 13, 2011 1:00 pm
How the Celtics bounce back from getting toppled by the Heat, that is a question for another day. Priority No. 1 was taken care of Friday when coach Doc Rivers agreed to a five-year extension to remain a Celtic.

This is what Rivers said he was at his core the other night, gracious and optimistic in defeat after the Heat beat the Celtics 97-87 to evict the defending Eastern Conference champs from the postseason in five games. At a time when his players and assistant coaches were hurting -- and worse, uncertain about the future -- Rivers threw them a lifeline when he calmly revealed in the postgame news conference that he was "leaning heavily" toward coming back.

The finer points of a five-year, $35 million extension were still being discussed, but there will be no hang-ups here. Rivers and general manager Danny Ainge work together like left hand and right, and Rivers revealed in a quiet moment after that Game 5 loss Wednesday night that he was serious about returning. Several weeks ago, he basically informed Celtics management that whatever they worked out with his agent, Lonnie Cooper, he'd agree to.

The five-year deal at $7 million annually has been on the table for three months -- perhaps longer, a person familiar with the situation told Friday. Rivers alluded to the offer Wednesday night on his way out of American Airlines Arena.

"There’s been a contract basically for three months there and Danny and Wyc (Grousbeck) and them have been on the other side of patience," Rivers said. "And it gave us a long time to talk about it as a family. So I haven't signed anything or done anything. But it’s there and I probably will sign it."

The only job that would've remotely tempted Rivers, the person with knowledge of Rivers' situation said, was replacing Phil Jackson with the Lakers. But that wasn't happening, not with Rivers -- not with a Celtic.  

"Leaving the Celtics to go to the Lakers would be akin to selling out," the person said. "He's old fashioned in a good way that way. That's the only job that would've been of any interest."

As for the Knicks, a team Rivers played for, New York executives are not believed to have explored whether Rivers would be available or interested. Mike D'Antoni has a year left on his contract, and team president Donnie Walsh is committed to giving D'Antoni a full season with a stable roster before making any rash decisions. But make no mistake: It wouldn't have mattered. Rivers has grown as close with his players in Boston as any coach in the league, and simply couldn't walk away -- even though some retooling at minimum and rebuilding at worst will be part of the job.

Does Ainge give in to the temptation to trade one of the Big Three at draft time -- the same way he acquired Ray Allen in the first place? Does Paul Pierce accept a secondary role, or even go to the bench? Does Jeff Green stay? How do the Celtics upgrade the size and toughness that was lost in the Kendrick Perkins trade?

All these decisions will be made with Rivers completely in the mix, working as effectively with Ainge as any coach and GM tandem in basketball. And don't forget this: Whatever challenges confront the Celtics, Rivers was adamant about showing the organization the same kind of loyalty it showed him. Before the Big Three were formed, Ainge stuck with Rivers and ignored the groundswell of opinions and speculation that he should be fired. It's no surprise they're finding a way to stick together now.

So close are Rivers and Ainge that one person familiar with their relationship suggested that Ainge may have been inclined to leave if Rivers did. That would've brought about a swift and painful end to the Celtics of the Big Three era, who progress now into a transition period with the most important piece of the puzzle firmly in place.


Since: May 15, 2010
Posted on: May 15, 2011 3:22 pm

Rivers' return keeps Celtics whole were only 40 minutes long, the Celts had the Heat....their prime timers ran out of gas when it was time to step up, no shame in that, and injuries are a fact of life. Having said that, where really do they begin re-tooling? Is Jeff Green of Championship pedigree? Assuming one more legitimate run, what can they realistically do?? Shaq's a media magnet, and anything they get out of him is just dessert now....can Green step in to allow Pierce to play the sixth man role to reduce his minutes? And what about underneath, don't they NEED some sort of enforcer, even if by commitee?

Since: Apr 28, 2011
Posted on: May 14, 2011 1:42 pm
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Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: May 13, 2011 10:40 pm

Rivers' return keeps Celtics whole

Obviously this extension meets 2 needs...keeps the Celts together for one more year-of course they will make the playoffs in the East, just maybe only a 3-5 seed.  anything can happen once you make the playoffs.  what this also does is after this one year, the Celts will have lots of cap space due to the expiring contracts of KG and Ray Allen.  If you are a free agent(Dwight Howard), wouldn't playing for not just a great Celtic franchise, but a good, players coach sound enticing?  I think so

Since: Feb 25, 2008
Posted on: May 13, 2011 6:48 pm

Rivers' return keeps Celtics whole

LMAO ..thats saying without Jordan, Kobe, and Shaq , phil jackson would have 1 ring if that..ignorant fool,  and why the hell does ESPN< TNT keeping saying the Celtics were 3-1 vs the Heat with perkins,  BS he didnt come back until feb/mar, so they were actually 2-0 without perkins and 1-1 with perkins, yeah he added toughness but doesnt mean shit when the heat are loaded with shooters and 3 Stars who can score from anywhere on the floor, people need to stop overvaluing perkins, last year he made a difference but he wouldnt have matter this year, We cant even trade one of the big 3 during the draft, since we have no defensive leader without Garnett, no outside game without Allen, and no leadership or a do it all guy like pierce, Green will have a bigger role next year,and rondo will be healthy,

Since: Nov 7, 2008
Posted on: May 13, 2011 6:40 pm

Rivers' return keeps Celtics whole

And it gave us a long time to talk about it as a family.

I can imagine the discussion between the Doc and his wife about this...

(Doc) "Honey, should we take the $35 million?"  

(Mrs. Doc) "Well dear, since since your team is old and falling apart and you don't have a decent draft pick and you will be revealed as the bad coach with great players that you really are, you would be a dumbass if you didn't." 

The Celtics jumped 42 games after the 06-07 season and Doc went from a career near .500 coach to the top team in the East.  So either Doc got real smart real fast or it is attributed to signing Garnett and Allen and drafting Rondo.  With the big three breaking down and in the tail end of their careers, he would be nuts not to take this deal...unless he was boliting for a better gig.  

Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: May 13, 2011 5:57 pm

Rivers' return keeps Celtics whole

This won't mean much ultimately since Ainge is still the one making the moves. Trading Perk didn't cost them the series against Miami as they probably would've lost anyway but the team clearly wasn't the same after the trade as the idea of having Jeff Green turned out to be better than actually having Jeff Green. Now with the Big Three nearing the end, aside from trading Rondo, (I know, it's unthinkable but who else do they have for bargaining chips?) I don't see how they can restock within the next two years. I think the Celtics are going to revert back to M.L. Carr-Pitino era awefulness for a while unless they can land a top FA. The one plus is that Boston is a more attractive place to play than somewhere like Minnesota so the mystique could lure some stars here but the prospect of going into full blown rebuilding mode isn't very appetizing no matter how you look at it.

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: May 13, 2011 5:29 pm

Rivers' return keeps Celtics whole

Doc rivers doesn't suck, it's Danny Ainge that sucks!

On Yo Knees
Since: Mar 19, 2011
Posted on: May 13, 2011 5:13 pm
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Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: May 13, 2011 4:55 pm

Rivers' return keeps Celtics whole

Thanks Danny Ainge. Now do us all a favor and find a way to lure Dwight Howard to Boston. Send Shaq packing, keep Jeff Green, bring in a young 2 guard to learn from and back up Allen, keep West add maybe 2 more young energetic young guys that can play defense and make things happen. Hated losing to the Heat...almost as much as I hated losing to the Lakers!! Let's get this ship back on championship waters please.

Since: Oct 14, 2010
Posted on: May 13, 2011 4:31 pm

Rivers' return keeps Celtics whole

The Celtics have to make some huge changes.  What Celtic fan wants to start next season with this same team and prospects of being far behind Miami and Chicago in the East?

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