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Report: Rivers hesitating to return because he fears full-scale rebuild

Jun 11, 2013, 8:45 AM EDT

Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers looks on in the second quarter of their NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets in New York Reuters

Is Doc Rivers is hesitating to return to the Celtics because he’s waiting to see what happens to Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett?

Yes, suggests A. Sherrod Blakely of

A league source told on Monday that Rivers’ decision on whether he will return will not be based solely on whether Paul Pierce and/or Kevin Garnett are back in next season. Rivers’ hesitation to verbally commit to next season has more to do with his uncertainty as to what type of team Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, will give him to coach.

“No coach wants to go through a full-blown rebuilding process,” said the source. “Doc’s already done that, so he knows how tough that is for all involved. But to be asked to go through it twice? Any coach would pause for a minute before signing on to that.”

Remember how Boston struggled in 2006 and 2007, to the point plenty of Celtics fans were calling for Rivers’ head. But you can’t win in the NBA without talent no matter how good a coach you are and once Rivers got talent the Celtics were a real threat.

The question for Boston is whether to start the rebuilding this summer or next. The temptation may be to say the sooner the better, but with a weak free agent class and draft, are you really going to get much of a jump starting now? Or are you better off bringing everyone back and being a very dangerous and interesting six seed next season, then rebuilding.

I’d lean toward the latter. But it’s not my call. It’s all up to Danny Ainge.

  1. Kevin S. - Jun 11, 2013 at 8:52 AM

    This draft class being weak is irrelevant. It’s next year’s that’s strong, so blowing it up this year sets you up to take advantage of that. The Celtics’ major problem with rebuilding is how difficult it’s going to be to dump their non-stars with 2-3 years left on their deals. Maybe they could unload Green without taking back bad ink, but they’re stuck with Terry and Lee. I don’t think Garnett and Pierce have enough value now to be used to dump those other guys.

  2. magicbucs - Jun 11, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    He was in a rebuilding process in Orlando also thanks to the grant hill signing back then.

    • fanofevilempire - Jun 11, 2013 at 2:14 PM

      I thought Doc wanted to know if Pierce was going to be cut loose and if
      KG would probably ask for a trade or retire.
      What about Rondo, he is due back.

  3. bobthedude - Jun 11, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    Next years draft class is supposed to be pretty strong. And even if the draft was considered to be weak by “experts”, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any roses in that patch of weeds.

  4. madnova - Jun 11, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    Next year’s draft isn’t weak…and getting a high pick in that draft means having a bad record this season.

  5. azarkhan - Jun 11, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    Better to start rebuilding right away. The Celtics are no longer in the top echelon of the Eastern Conference. That distinction belongs to the Heat, Pacers, and Bulls.

    • zerole00 - Jun 11, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      Yeah, but with Garnet-Pierce-Rondo the Celtics won’t be the kinda team that tanks. I highly doubt Garnet and Pierce would want to be a part of that in their final year(s).

      At worse, I see them as middle of the pack in terms of W-L. That’s an absolutely terrible place to be in if they’re looking at a rebuild.

      The Celtics are just in an awful situation right now unless they happen to uncover gems in the draft.

      • zerole00 - Jun 11, 2013 at 12:36 PM

        Oops, meant to reply to Madnova above.

    • pantsfreezone - Jun 11, 2013 at 7:44 PM

      The Bulls aren’t in the top echelon. It’s the Heat and Pacers conference for the next few years.

  6. packhawk04 - Jun 11, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    Yeah… even if all goes well with pierce, rondo, and garnett, the best they can hope is 4 or 5 seed and out in the first or second round.

  7. Anoesis - Jun 11, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    Gee, reading the comments on here made me think Phil Jackson was the only coach who wouldn’t commit to a team without proven stars.

  8. thesportsguy52 - Jun 11, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    He’s going to be in that situation regardless…

  9. mysterious - Jun 11, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    man screw doc rivers. he signed a lengthy contract which he KNEW would outlast pierce and KG, and now hes going to act surprised that a rebuild is going to occur. what a clown. but if it was up to him, he probably would play KG and Pierce starter minutes into their 40’s.

    and this is coming from a celtics fan.

  10. jamesbmckay - Jun 11, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    How about Doc getting creative but also sticking to his committment? I am not a Doc fan and think he is only a mediocre coach at best (great calling up a play, but weak on defense [Thibs was the defensive genius], terrible on rebounding [no focus on, etc.], and the worst at having his team ready for the sub .500 teams [we lost 15+ to those teams last season, many even when healthy]) but we’re stuck with him so why not change his coaching style? Firrst off, I’d make PP the Sixth Man so we get steady scoring off the bench but also so PP can play the 4th qtr without being gassed. Starters – RR, AB, KG, JG and JS unless you give FAB a shot at starting and seeing if he can perform well enough so we have a center capable of blocking and altering shots and rebounding (any offense is a bonus). Then JS can come off the bench. Trade JET and CL and keep JC and TW as thye back-up guards. Keep BB & SR for defense and rebounding and go get Barbosa back and fill the roster with our draft pick, a FA and BIGS. With some creative tweaks this team could be much better than a 4-5 seed and have a legitimate chance at another title. Keeping the status quo and playing PP & KG 40+ will end with the same results. To rebuild you need to suck and have a shot at a top lottery pick for a year or more. Let PP & KG retire as Celtics and then rebuild based on the results of this coming year. Go Cs…

  11. tcclark - Jun 11, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    This is why the NBA is horrible. We’re talking about a team with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo losing in the first or second round next year without a possibility of winning a championship and the season isn’t even close to starting yet. I’m not saying it’s not true because I think it clearly is, but isn’t it a shame that the NBA is this predictable? March Madness is so much fun because anything can happen…. Not in the NBA. We all pretty much know what teams are going to be contending three years from now because it’s the same teams that are contending now. My Sixers haven’t won a championship since 1983 and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s another 20-30 years before they win one again. The Bucks haven’t won since Oscar Robertson played for them, the Hawks haven’t won since 1958, and 14 of the 30 NBA teams still haven’t won a championship including 3 of the 4 ABA teams that came over (Nets, Pacers, Nuggets). In fact, since the Sixers last won a championship 30 years ago only 7 teams have won a championship since and they’ve all won more than one. Being a fan of one of the other 23 teams is like being a fan of the Washington Generals. You have no chance.

    • illegalblues - Jun 11, 2013 at 2:44 PM

      idk, nobody really thought the c’s would go to game 7 in the ECF last year. anything can happen but it’s probably a year late already on rebuilding.

      • tcclark - Jun 11, 2013 at 3:11 PM

        They didn’t have to beat anyone good to get there. In fact they had to go to game 7 against the 8th seed Sixers in order to make it to the ECF. They had no shot at winning a championship.

      • illegalblues - Jun 11, 2013 at 4:14 PM

        yeah, i agree but you injuries happen. part of the game. anything can happen. going 7 games against the Heat kinda shows maybe they did have some sort of a chance? idk, just calling it as i’m seeing it.

      • mysterious - Jun 11, 2013 at 5:46 PM

        tcclark your logic is pathetic

        they go 7 games down to the minutes with the heat (with some terrible officiating game 2, wades face rake anyone??) they they “had not shot”. moron

  12. misterdreamer119 - Jun 11, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    Rebuild already. Maybe we can steal tibbs from the bulls

  13. clevelandschronic2 - Jun 11, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    Im sorry doc is a great coach probably top 3 right now. But if this is true fudge him. What a quitter u knew what u were getting when u u signed that new contract last year. But now he wants to leave because he cant handle a rebuilding. GTFOH

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