Report: Nets asked for permission to speak with Doc Rivers, C's rejected them

It's been 20 days since the Celtics season ended, but coach Doc Rivers has yet to give a final answer on whether he will return next season.

While Doc has given cryptic answers ("I'm coming back until I say I'm not coming back"), he has yet to make things official. Tonight we get a new detail to why he may be holding out.

Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston published an article on Rivers today, and claims that the Brooklyn Nets made a run at Rivers, only to be rejected by Danny Ainge. From the article.

If Rivers were a free agent, he would be one of the most sought after coaches in the league.

In fact, team and league sources confirmed to that Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was contacted by the Brooklyn Nets, who wanted to speak to Rivers about their vacant coaching position. Ainge, according to those sources, denied the Nets permission to talk with his coach, who has three years and $21 million remaining on his contract.

Now on the surface this doesn't mean much, as MacMullan notes, Rivers is one of the best coaches in the league so it's only natural that he'd be sought after. With that said, if Rivers wasn't at least intrigued by other teams, why wouldn't he just say he's coming back? He's under contract here for three more years at fantastic money, but is it possible that he just doesn't want to go through what could become another rebuilding project? He's already been through that both in Orlando and early in his Boston tenure, and going through it a 3rd time at this stage of his career may not be appealing. Even if Boston retains both Pierce and Garnett, they're only delaying the rebuild by one year, and then Rivers would be in the same position next summer.

MacMullan also talked about how the Magic offered Rivers a "godfather" type role last summer, which Doc considered before rejecting.

That will not stop the offers from coming. 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.

For those confused about why Doc was allowed to talk to Orlando, Rivers was free to take the job because it is a promotion, not a lateral move like it would be to become coach of the Nets.

With news of the Nets interest trickling in, now you have to imagine Rivers will be pressed to give an answer shortly. There's already rumors that he and Danny Ainge are sick of one another, and with the draft now just a month away, the off-season retooling process is about to get under way.

I'm a huge fan of Rivers, but it's time for an answer. Three weeks is plenty of time to unwind and refresh yourself before making a decision, and it's time for Doc to decided whether he's in or out for next season.


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