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Report: Doc Rivers, Clippers have mutual interest

Jun 13, 2013, 5:55 PM EDT

Two years ago, Doc Rivers signed a five-year, $35 million contract extension with the Celtics. Even for a coach like Rivers, $7 million is on the high end, but so is a five-year contract. The Celtics, in effect, were paying extra for the stability of keeping a good coach around for so long – even as the Kevin Garnett-Paul Pierce-Ray Allen core aged.

Rivers seemed to understand that at the time. Here’s how he answered questions about his 2011 extension, via Chris Forsberg of ESPN (emphasis mine):

Q: Whose idea was it for a long-term deal?

Rivers: “Well, Danny brought it up to me. When he first brought it up I was surprised by it. But this was a while ago that he brought it up. I think, actually, he brought up even more years to start. I never thought of it in those terms because we kept doing these one-year or two-year deals, and I never thought of it. And Danny walked in my office and said, ‘Listen, I want you to be here with me for a long time, and I want to make this something where we’re together for a long time,’ and so he brought up the number of years and you’ve got to process that when you commit to something for that long, and we did, and we thought it was the right thing to do.”

Q: Aren’t you going to rebuild at some point? Are you looking forward to it?

Rivers: “Well I don’t think anyone’s looking forward to that, but I’m willing to do that. I’ve had a group that has been very loyal to me, and 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 do that, 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, and in that transition, hopefully we can still chase what we want. But 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 and I just thought it was time to show it, and that’s what I did.”

Well, now that the Celtics have already let Allen walk and seem to be considering ways they’d enter next season without Garnett or Pierce, Rivers doesn’t seem so on board with rebuilding. He hasn’t said publically that he’ll coach Boston next season, and reportedly it’s because he’s wary of a rebuild.

Hey, this is America. Nobody can force Rivers to work, and he’s free to walk away from his job and and contract at anytime. As long as he’s not coaching elsewhere, it’s no big deal.

But Rivers might want to leave the Celtics and continue to coach. Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

The Los Angeles Clippers have not formally requested permission to interview Celtics coach Doc Rivers in the wake of widespread reports about Rivers’ potential departure from Boston, but there is strong mutual interest between the parties, according to sources close to the situation.

Sources told ESPN.com that Rivers is highly intrigued by the idea of coaching the Clippers in the event that he and the Celtics part company after nine seasons together and one championship in 2008. Sources say that the Clippers, meanwhile, would immediately vault Rivers to the top of their list if he became available as they continue a coaching search that, to this point, has focused on Brian Shaw, Byron Scott and Lionel Hollins.

ESPN.com has also learned that the Celtics and Clippers — in an offshoot of February’s Kevin Garnett-to-L.A. trade talks — discussed expanded trade scenarios that actually could have sent both Garnett and close friend Paul Pierce to the Clippers before the league’s Feb. 21 trade deadline.

Sources say that those talks, before breaking down, were centered around Boston getting back both prized Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe and young center DeAndre Jordan and did not involve Clippers star forward Blake Griffin.

Rivers chose the extra years, and he chose the extra money. He has to live with that decision now.

The Celtics are well within their legal and ethical rights to block Rivers from defecting to the Clippers. Rivers is also well within his rights to explore with the Celtics a move to Los Angeles.

Perhaps, there’s a mutually beneficial trade involving Garnett, Pierce, Rivers, Bledsoe and Jordan. As much as the Celtics wanted Rivers to guide them through their eventual transition, hopefully they won’t allow spite to keep him from the Clippers if Los Angeles presents a compensation offer that offsets the loss of Rivers.

But ultimately, allowing Rivers to go to Los Angeles is the Celtics’ call. He allowed them that privilege when he took the money.

  1. dirtydavis - Jun 13, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    Clippers 2014 Champs!!!

  2. pmx8411 - Jun 13, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    Billy Crystal must be loving all this Clippers talk in the off-season

    • wordpress3zzz - Jun 13, 2013 at 9:13 PM

      As a Clipper’s fan it’s pretty sad that Billy Crystal is our Jack Nicholson and I’d prefer if his name were never mentioned nor his image ever shown during a Clippers broadcast, again.

      • stayhigh_247 - Jun 14, 2013 at 1:36 AM

        absolutely, dude is disgusting

  3. dolphindubs - Jun 13, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    As much as I can’t stand Stephen A. Smith, gotta give him props. He called this weeks ago

  4. timb12 - Jun 13, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    Will people still want the Clippers job if Chris Paul doesn’t resign?

  5. jcmeyer10 - Jun 13, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    That would be a punk move, Doc.

    • jcmeyer10 - Jun 13, 2013 at 6:26 PM

      I am curious to hear the counter argument to my point.

      • jackntorres - Jun 13, 2013 at 6:32 PM

        This is America. We operate in a capitalist economy.

        A punk move would be being drafted by your HOMETOWN team #1 overall, and then taking your “talents” to another city without winning a championship.

        Doc already led the Celtics to one championship, and he isn’t even from Boston. You are welcome.

      • lmoneyfresh - Jun 13, 2013 at 6:48 PM

        You haven’t even made an argument. You made a baseless statement.

      • jcmeyer10 - Jun 13, 2013 at 10:28 PM

        lmoney: he signed a contract knowing it would likely extend beyond Pierce/Garnett/Championship Contender status. He has said he would be cool with rebuilding. He is one of the highest paid coaches. He has three years left on his deal.

        He is leaving for greener pastures in the Clippers if he goes. I don’t know. He’s got a tough hill to climb in Boston and is choosing to climb an easier hill.

  6. chargerdillon - Jun 13, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    CP3 gonna kill another good coach, Vinny Del Negro just coached the Clips to their best regular season record ever and got fired.

    Doc is walking into a nightmare scenario. There isn’t a single Laker fan out there that wouldnt bump out D’antoni for this guy RIGHT NOW.

    So the Clips can get better talent, they can get better coaching, but they’re still the Clippers. Beating the Lakers will be the height of this legacy and not much else.

    Donald Sterling is not in the winning business and never will be.

    • JHathwell - Jun 13, 2013 at 6:49 PM

      Living in the past, brother. The Clippers have a ton of talent and the trade chips to get even better. For all of the bad things you can say about Donald sterling, he’s finally put hi money where his mouth is to make this team viable.

      Conversely, the Lakers are screwed now, saddled with a bumbling fool for an owner, the worst salary cap situation in the entire league and if Dwight decides to bolt, this team will have a 70 million dollar payroll for a team that features two over-the-hill former stars and an injured Kobe.

      Taking the laker job is a horrible idea WITH Dwight in the fold, to say nothing of without him.

      • kb2408 - Jun 13, 2013 at 7:21 PM

        JH, you really don’t have a clue, do you? Explain to us all exactly how are the LAKERS “screwed”? You do understand that every player on the LAKERS roster today, with the possible exception of Dwight, Kobe and Nash, will be gone after the 2014 season? If Dwight re-signs he will be the only long term contract on the roster. 2014 & 15 will be exceptional years for free agents. With that being said, you don’t think the LAKERS will land 1or 2 of them?! Elite players still want to play for the LAKERS. As a matter of fact, if CP3 had his choice between the LAKERS and the Clips, do you actually think he would choose the Clips?! The plan was to build a big 3 in L.A. but it dang sure wasn’t with the Clips!! It was with Kobe and Dwight, but thanks to Stern, that plan failed. As for the Clips, who cares if they hire Doc? He’s a good coach but coaching was not their problem this season. They will continue to be pretenders until Blake and DeAndre become better players. All that “Lob City” crap doesn’t translate to winning titles. Showtime 2.0., the Clips are NOT.

      • chargerdillon - Jun 13, 2013 at 8:16 PM

        I have zero problems with the Clippers success, but this is a very talented franchise that got completely outphysical’d by Memphis and I really don’t see that changing next year. But there is still absolutely no reason to fire Vinny Del Negro. It’s mind blowing to me they would fire a coach who just got them their best franchise record.

        Why nobody will stick up for Del Negro is just nuts to me because he’s a very good coach.

        The Lakers situation is an absolute dumpsterfire and I’m more of the impression D12 will be somewhere else. But the Lakers don’t rebuild, they just steal other teams pieces. Nobody wants to address the fact that within the next 2-3 years virtually every player on the roster will be dumped and one of the big name stars will be salivating over the prospects of being the new “it” man in LA. If I were a betting man, I’d say Lebron at some point in his career wears a Lakers uniform.

      • JHathwell - Jun 16, 2013 at 5:35 PM

        The Clippers have a window to become serious contenders and they are at least being proactive in trying to make that happen. Forget about winning 56 games or whatever, why not try to get better? If you can get Doc Rivers you have to go for it, and Vinny Del Negro will never be Doc Rivers.

        Not sure how you can say the Clippers don’t have a chance to be better. This implies that you know for a fact they won’t be getting Dwight Howard, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Arron Afflallo or any of the other people they are rumored to be pursuing.

      • asimonetti88 - Jun 13, 2013 at 8:43 PM

        “the worst salary cap situation in the entire league”

        Jason Kidd, Billy King and the Brooklyn Nets say hello.

      • JHathwell - Jun 16, 2013 at 5:33 PM

        If the Lakers resign Howard they are at 100 million, which puts them into about EIGHTY MILLION DOLLARS in luxury tax penalties for a team that went 45-37 last years AND won’t have Kobe for at least half the season.

        Nets are looking at 90 mil for a team that was better last year and at least with Kidd as the coach shows a little promise. Plus, we know Mikhail seems willing to pay the tax, whereas we don’t know the same to be true with Jimmy Buss.

      • asimonetti88 - Jun 17, 2013 at 1:11 AM

        Nets are locked into that $90 million for a long time. Lakers will be losing most of their big cap contracts after next year.

      • JHathwell - Jun 17, 2013 at 4:31 PM

        Not true. 90 for next year, 77 for ’15, 72 for ’16. Lopex and DWill are moveable contracts if necessary.

        The lakers are looking at 100 this year and then the whole roster expires, which means they are either starting over around Dwight or with nothing and even worse, they traded away all their draft picks in the Dwight and Bash deals.

  7. wammygiveaway - Jun 13, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    Back in May, there was a rumored trade of Pierce, Garnett and Rivers to the Clippers for practically the farm: DeAndre Jordan, Caron Butler, Eric Bledsoe, cash compensation, draft picks, and their franchise cornerstone Blake Griffin. Way before that, there were trade talks between the Lakers and Celtics for a Dwight Howard-Rajon Rondo swap at a time when D12 was sulking (His play changed following the passing of Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss). There may be a slight chance that the Celtics may also want to deal Rondo and start completely anew, so if my hunch is right, the Celtics may also require Chris Paul. All that just to get permission to speak to Doc Rivers.

    This could be a huge step for the Clippers. On the one hand, Lob City will finally have a coach who can command the utmost respect, upgrade the winning culture to a western conference powerhouse, and lead them to their first ever NBA Championship. Doc Rivers is one of only two coaches in NBA history to defeat Phil Jackson in the Finals, the other being Larry Brown, a feat which speaks volumes. On the other, the Clips may be forced to give up their number one draft pick who gave them life and likability, and if it happens, the best point guard in the NBA to give them their first ever Pacific Division banner, a humiliating sweep of their hallway rivals, and a bit of needed attention.

    The Clippers have now stepped into a Laker trade, where if they want to get the best of the best, they are required to give up the pieces they hold dear to their heart. Let’s see in the coming weeks if the Clippers have the guts to handle the trials and tribulations of moving up the ladder from playoff pretender to title contender.

    • Kurt Helin - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      That trade idea was driven by Vinny Del Negro, not management. It is one of the reasons he is gone.

  8. openseason51 - Jun 13, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    Rivers will stay because he has a contract and he will honor that contract because he is an honest person. Danny and he will rebuild the Celtics into a much better team.

  9. paulhargis53 - Jun 13, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Again Charger, 1-12 in the last 3 playoff ending series’.

    Clippers on the upswing and you know the Lakeshow is going to continue to be mediocre for awhile.

    You’re jealously is an ugly thing.

  10. titansbro - Jun 13, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    Trade KG, Pierce, & Rivers for Bledsoe & Griffin. Boom, done.

  11. northstarnic - Jun 13, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    Integrity? What’s that? (Joking of course. This is the NBA after all.)

  12. BigBeachBall - Jun 13, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    Del negro is becoming the coach that teams reach for before getting a legit coach.

  13. jimsjam33 - Jun 13, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    Vinny Del Negro had a three year contract and the Clippers honored it . His demise was his loyalty to Chauncey Billups who had no business being in the starting lineup against Memphis or anybody else for that matter . The Clippers defense had all season to earn how to defend the three and they stumbled badly .
    Doc Rivers is a quality coach and I would have loftier expections of the Clips . I do still believe they need a quality small forward with speed , defense and three point accuracy . Sorry Caron , you are not the man . If Bledsoe has to leave then he should be worth plenty to fill in the deficiencies .
    Is Doc Rivers the man ? I say yes , but I’d also say that about Byron Scott and George Karl . I love run and gun basketball . So that means that Hollins with his half court offense and Shaw with the triangle are out for me .
    Good luck in the future Del Negro . You tried to emulate Popovich as a coach and a personality . Pop’s no personality personna just didn’t fit you in LA and you are not half the coach . Maybe the Suns ?

  14. nawlinsmitty - Jun 13, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    Clippers couldn’t win a championship even if Phil was coaching them. Chris Paul is such a loser.

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