With the Doc Rivers coaching watch heating up to a fever pitch in the past few days with a countless number of credible reports, we decided it’s time to get our crew back together and address the speculation.
1. On a scale of 1-10, how confident are you Doc Rivers will coach the Celtics next season?
Michael Pina: 6. Since the season ended, I thought every bit of news related to Doc Rivers’ departure was simply the result of impatient reporters trying to fill an always-hungry 24-hour news cycle. When Rivers had the opportunity to squash the rumors and didn’t, I became very, very nervous.
Brian Robb: 7. All of the rumors are legitimate, but the underlying factor that makes me feel better about the situation is the timing. If Doc really was going to bail out, my guess is he would have pulled the trigger by now. Staying has always been the default choice and since we are just two weeks away from the NBA Draft with the coaching free agent market trying up, I don’t think Rivers will put the franchise in that challenging predicament.
Ryan DeGama: 5. Is Doc waiting to find out if Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are returning? Is he holding off on his decision until he knows how quickly Danny Ainge can rebuild? As KG bellowed, anything is possible. But this time, it’s not in a good way. The caveat: nobody, Rivers included, is well-suited to coach a rebuilding team if his heart’s not in it.
2. Is Rivers being unfair to the Celtics by taking this long to make a decision on his future?
Pina: Doc’s decision to stay or go is tied to whatever Danny Ainge is planning to do with Paul Pierce, and then Kevin Garnett. It makes sense for him to wait, and as the organization’s face moving forward, he has every right to wait it out.
Robb: I think Rivers taking the month of May to make a decision is reasonable, but doing radio interviews without addressing your future in the month of June is not exactly fair to Ainge. I understand the fact that he’s waiting on Pierce and Garnett, but the fact that the trade offers Ainge is or isn’t fielding from teams on those players could be challenging, since those GM’s know Doc’s fate may be directly tied to them.
DeGama: Are we sure Rivers is the one holding things up? For all we know, Doc’s return has always been contingent on the composition of the team and he and Ainge have agreed they won’t make an announcement until the path forward is clear. If that’s true, Ainge’s commitment to exploring all options may be what’s keeping Doc so tight-lipped. Remember: the Finals aren’t even over yet.
3. Should C’s fans harbor any ill will if Doc jumps ship for another contender this summer?
Pina: Absolutely not. Rivers spent nine wonderful years with the Celtics and who can blame him for wanting out of a hopeless situation? As long as the Celtics are well-compensated (draft picks please!) in his departure there shouldn’t be any hard feelings.
Robb: I think there will be some disappointment, given the fact he signed a contract extension with the indication that he was ready to tackle a rebuild in Boston. A lot of it will depend on how C’s management respond to his wishes. People have the right to change their mind though, so I don’t expect Doc’s legacy to be unjustly tarnished in Boston over the long-term if he departs.
DeGama: It would be incredibly petty of fans to hold anything against Rivers after a decade of commitment to the Celtics, a championship, a couple of near misses, and a textbook display of how to coach a pro team in this town. So if Doc does leave, let’s let him walk away with his reputation and legacy intact. He’s earned the kind of sendoff that Terry Francona didn’t get.