It’s been 40 days and counting now since Doc Rivers has commented on the record about his coaching status next season with the Boston Celtics. That length of time speaks volumes about the mixed feelings Doc is likely having about returning to the bench, and now the whispers are becoming louder that Rivers may be wary of returning as head coach next season:
DEVELOPING: Doc Rivers believes it “may be time for a change” in his status as Celtics coach, source told @chris_broussard.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 12, 2013
CH’s Take: Unfortunately, there is plenty smoke here when it comes to Doc’s status and other ESPN Insiders like Stephen A. Smith have been on top of this story from the start, meaning the sources they are talking to in this case are probably relatively reliable. Now this is a stretch from saying Doc is gone entirely, but the timetable here is incredibly important.
Here’s what I wrote in my piece from Monday on the situation:
From this point forward, with the obvious exception of Doc announcing he is coming back, the longer Rivers takes to make a decision is probably a good sign for C’s fans. Why?
Unless there is a lot more bad blood than we are hearing about, Rivers is not going to leave Ainge in an impossible situation for next season where he is scrambling for a head coach at the start of the draft/free agency period. The Celtics’ ownership knows it’s always been a year-to-year thing with Doc and gave him the benefit of an extra security with the 5-year deal after the 2011 season. They know he likes to take his time making his decisions.
With that said, Rivers informing the team of a decision more than a month after the season ends, seems a bit unfair and unreasonable, two things that Doc isn’t known for. He’s had more than ample time now to think things over. You know what burnt out coaches don’t do? Attend draft workouts for players 1,000 miles away from home for teams they don’t intend on coaching. That’s something to feel good about if you’re a Celtics fan who wants Doc back.
Furthermore, the coaching free agent market is drying up as we speak. There’s no obvious in-house candidate to take the reigns if Doc steps down, unless Ainge wants to return to the sidelines himself. That proposition seems unlikely. A contingency plan may be in place, but it can’t be ideal for the franchise.
Now, the fact we are hearing Rivers may be ducking out just two days later does not bode well in the timetable department. If he’s going to step down, it probably needs to be in the next few days so Ainge at least has a coach in place when he drafts and hits free agency. Rivers owes the C’s at least that much.
I’m still not fully convinced it’s going to happen, but if he’s out, the move will be made soon.