Doc Rivers, two years ago, on being part of a rebuild: "I’m willing to do that"
|Is Doc Rivers going back on his word?|
The reasoning is that after the Celtics were eliminated by the New York Knicks, Rivers was noncommittal about coming back for another year. The Celtics are at a bit of a cross roads here with the futures of Kevin Garnett (retirment?) and Paul Pierce (trade, buyout?) also up in the air. The question has been, would Doc Rivers really want to stick around for a rebuild?
The one thing I keep going back to, is that Rivers signed this contract extension back in 2011 knowing full well that a rebuild was inevitably in the cards down the line. I remembered him acknowledging this at the time he signed the contract and finally decided to look for those quotes.
Here's Rivers in a WEEI interview shortly after signing his 5-year extension back in May of 2011.
D&C: Here’s the other thing — at least I assumed about you, Doc — is you wanted to compete for a title every year. You obviously had a taste for it with this team and you didn’t want to go back to the Orlando days of rebuilding. Well, isn’t a five-year deal, isn’t it inevitable that you’re going to be overseeing or you’re going to be coaching a rebuilding team. And are you looking forward to that?
Doc: Well, I don’t think anyone’s looking forward to that, but I’m willing to do that.I had a group that has been very loyal to me. I think it would have been very easy for me to just run and go somewhere else and chase something else.
Who says that we still can’t [reload] with free agency and adding the right pieces? While our Big Three are getting older, we have to add the right supporting cast to them. In that transition, hopefully we can still chase what we want.
It would have been easier to do it the other way; I just don’t think it’s the right thing to do. Coaches talk about loyalty and team all the time. I just thought it was time to show it. And that’s what I did.
These quotes are especially poignant today with the speculation that's been going on. Rivers has been very hesitant to confirm that he's coming back to coach the Celtics. It's coming off as if that loyalty might not be there anymore, certainly fans are starting to get a bit frustrated with Rivers' lack of commitment.
For what it's worth, Doc has participated in all of the normal off-season activities with the Celtics but won't speak on whether he's coming back when asked.
You can't hang Doc out to dry yet, he's still the coach of the team as far as we know. However, if he decides to turn down the money the Celtics are paying (highest in the league) to go chase a ring like Ray Allen, you can't expect that to go over well.
Especially when you look at what Doc was saying when he signed this contract extension to stay in Boston. He knew the rebuilding era was coming sooner or later, if he wasn't prepared for it he shouldn't have signed the contract.
I look at the Utah situation and Jerry Sloan. And I look at the situation in San Antonio. Danny and I were talking — those are the two more stable franchises, because they’ve had the same coach and the same GM and the same ownership. They’ve been able to draft well, scout well, pick the right players for the system because they’ve known the system. When we talked about it, that’s what we want to do.
I thought Doc Rivers was to be our Jerry Sloan, and he at least wanted to be then. When actually faced with the prospect of acting on that, it seems like he's starting to get cold feet. To say the least, that's disappointing.