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Doc Rivers the next coach in Miami rumors still floating around

Dec 2, 2010, 7:30 PM EDT

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Who is going to be the next coach of the Miami Heat has become almost as fun a guessing game in NBA circles as where will Carmelo Anthony land.

And there are a number of people around the league who have been saying the answer may be Doc Rivers next season. The Miami Herald says that idea is still out there.

Pat Riley’s associates said his plan entering the season was to give coach Erik Spoelstra the full season, and keep him beyond if it works out. If it doesn’t, he knows quality coaches will be available next summer, with Doc Rivers considered Riley’s top choice if a change is made then…

Although Rivers likes his situation in Boston (where he is in the final year of his contract), two NBA officials said they would not be surprised if he took the Heat job, if offered next summer, for multiple reasons — his respect for Riley and Arison; the Heat’s talent base (younger than Boston’s); and the fact his family lives in Orlando (closer to Miami), among others.

Riley himself doesn’t want to coach again — being an NBA coach is a hard grind and Riley has done his time and likes the executive life. The players, particularly Dwyane Wade who has been through Riley’s legendary practices, don’t really want him back on the bench. Doc Rivers, for his part, basically scoffs whenever this idea gets mentioned in his presence.

You can bet Spoelstra is going to get this entire season. If he and the big three figure it out and make a good playoff run — not win a title, just get to the conference finals or better — then he probably gets another shot.

If not, Doc Rivers, Nate McMillan and others might hear their phone ring. But there are a lot of “ifs” between now and then.

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