Rivers himself has not confirmed that and with the Celtics season being over for five weeks, speculation has grown that the beloved coach is seriously considering stepping down.
When asked if he is still in the decision-making process, Rivers told the Globe “I’d rather not say.” Although he has not been available to the media, Rivers has been present for pre-draft workouts and has discussed the future of the season on several occasions with Ainge.
Yesterday I wrote that now is the time for Rivers to decide, and that if he truly is planning on waiting until decisions are made on Pierce (June 30th deadline to pick up/decline his option) and KG, that it is a selfish move on his part. The draft is just 17 days away, and free agency just a bit over three weeks from kicking off. While Rivers is helping out with draft workouts and the like, the Celtics need to know who their coach is going to be before going full bore into the off-season.
Not only does it effect which free agents will be interested in Boston, but every day that goes by other teams looking for a coach are holding interviews with prospective candidates. If Rivers ends up bailing in early July, who will be left for the Celtics? Chances are guys like George Karl and Brian Shaw will be long gone, leaving the Celtics with second tier candidates.
Of course, Rivers could still return. But if that is going to happen, why wouldn't he just say so? 38 days is a long time to be non-commital, much longer than he has gone in the past. While folks are quick to point out that he never "officially" gave a statement saying he'd return for this past season, he was giving detailed interviews 17 days after the season ended, talking about 'expecting KG and Ray to return to Boston', and referring to the Celtics as "we" on numerous occasions. While he may not have come out and said it, the tone was clear, he was coming back. As of now, five and a half weeks after the Celtics season ended, we've gotten nothing even close to that.
Making things a little hairier, Stephen A. Smith went on SportsCenter this morning, and reiterated that he has heard that Rivers and Celtics boss Danny Ainge may be 'tiring of one another'. Now, Smith is a blowhard, but he's also connected. And this is not a new statement from Stephen A., as he said the same thing about Rivers and Ainge six weeks ago when their season was still alive.
Smith also discusses Rivers potential interest in other NBA jobs, from the video linked above.
Doc knows there is no way on Earth that he will be released from his contract to go to a team within the Eastern Conference.
But if there was a possibility that he could go out West, say the Clippers or somebody like that, who knows whether or not it's a possibility that Doc Rivers would entertain it, but from what I'm being told, it's not something that he would rule out.
Something about this just seems off to me if Rivers is really planning on returning. 38 days is plenty of time to recharge the batteries and make a decision, so what's the hold up? While it's still possible this is all a bunch of speculation based on nothing, and that Rivers ends up back in Boston for a 10th season, every day that goes by without an answer makes that possibility a little less likely.