Many people have written on Doc Rivers departure. Partly because it was a major story and partly because Doc has talked about it repeatedly with the media since it happened. You know it must hurt him to see Pierce and KG get to go to Brooklyn to go for another title and fans be 100% behind those two, while Doc has been somewhat vilified (not Ray Allen level, but the Bill Simmons led "quitter" talk has to sting and lots of fans have bought into it). Doc spoke once again this weekend, this time to the king of NBA media Adrian Wojnorowski:
|Just like Pierce, Doc has earned the right not to |
have to suffer through another painful rebuild.
Those nine seasons with the Celtics were the best of his basketball life, and they're forever embedded within him now. Rivers wished he could've been spared the criticism on his way out, but that was inevitable and he's come to understand that better now.
"It dragged out to a point where there were bound to be hurt feelings," Rivers said. "The truth was this: I really didn't want to go through a rebuild. I've been through three – when I first got to Orlando, and then when Grant Hill went down again. And I had been through one in Boston. It's easy to say, 'Just do it,' but for a coach, it's brutal. Showing up, getting your ass kicked, it's brutal."
"It takes a lot out of you. At the end of the year, when we lost, I had full intentions of doing it. The more I kept thinking about it, I knew it wasn't in me again. At least not there again.
"But when the deal first fell apart, I told [Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge], 'I'll coach again here, I'll come back.' And then, a day later, I told him: I don't know if I can. That's how wishy-washy I was. But when I said that, Danny said, "OK, let me get back to work and get this thing done.'"
The Clippers sent the Celtics a first-round draft pick, and afforded Rivers the VP of basketball operations title and $7 million a year. They let him spend on players, his coaching staff and a front office staff to support him and his GM, Gary Sacks.
Don't be a Felger. Give Doc a monstrous, lengthy
standing ovation when he returns to Boston.
"Opportunities like this," Rivers said, "are rare in our league."
Personally I hold no hard feelings for Doc. Coaches get fired all the time. Doc could have agreed to stay for the rebuild and gotten fired midway through this season (and not have a decent landing spot like the Clippers). He's earned the decision not to go through another painful rebuild. And trust me this year is going to be painful. Also this is a promotion. He gets to call the shots in L.A. If he doesn't want to trade his starting center, now he doesn't have to. It's not like he's Phil Jackson and will only take coaching jobs where he's a title favorite.
Doc is simply aware from experience that the first coach that takes over a rebuilding situation rarely makes it out. We can hope that Brad Stevens might be an exception, but throughout NBA history, especially recent history, coaching is not a very safe position. Doc has paid his dues building teams. Best of luck to Doc. Far too often the Boston media tries to create villains out of Boston sports greats after they leave. I sincerely hope that Celtics fans don't fall prey to this, and when Doc returns with the Clippers to the Garden, that fans give him a monstrous ovation.
JR 9/28/2013 07:09:00 PM Tweet Edit