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3-on-3: Will Doc Rivers Return Next Season?

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.

  • Josh_5

    The only reason Doc is waiting is because he won't make his decision until he knows the fate of KG and Pierce. If they come back, he does too. If Pierce is bought out and KG retires, then Doc is gone. Simple as that.

  • Jim

    When you sign a contract it should mean something. I think Doc Rivers should let Danny Ainge do his job and not hold him hostage as to Pierce or Garnett. Rivers has done damage to the team and his reputation by remaining silent. If he wants to go then by all means go. No one wants a coach who doesnot give a 100 per cent.
    Will people be upset if he leaves? Come on guys have you read some of the comments about Ray Allen who left as a free agent? I for one now hope that Rivers goes. He seems like a person who does not want to take the bad part of coaching only the glory of winning .

    • Derek

      So should it mean a team can't fire a coach because they signed a contract? Or trade a player for that matter? That is not how business is done in professional sports.

  • Rav

    Should C’s fans harbor any ill will if Doc jumps ship for another contender this summer?

    "Absolutely not. Rivers spent nine wonderful years with the Celtics and who can blame him for wanting out of a hopeless situation?"

    "People have the right to change their mind though, so I don’t expect Doc’s legacy to be unjustly tarnished"

    "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"

    All of these applied to Ray Allen (switching to a genuine contender, changing his mind about wanting to play for this team, after having dedicated 5 seasons and sacrificing his stats/game for the good of the team). I'm not saying the three of you in particular are hypocritical (can't remember your opinions on Ray's move), but a lot of fans who would agree with what you said about Doc would call Ray a traitor.

    I honestly think Doc leaving would be worse. He's under contract, so there was a reasonable expectation (and partial obligation) for him to stay; Ray, on the other hand, was a free agent.

  • Michael

    What a bs discussion. Can you show us the FACTUAL basis for the assertion that Doc's decision is contingent upon what happens with Pierce and KG? What you 3 have offered here is based on all talk and ZERO fact.

    "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."

    What do you mean for all we know? Ainge and Doc have clearly spoken on the matter of rebuilding before so we do in fact know there is no such arrangement or they have both been dishonest in prior discussion of this which we have absolutely no reason to believe.

  • hax

    1) 5. If he was a Celtic, he'd coach even if courtney lee was our best player and commit to returning early.
    2) Yes. If you sign a contract, there shouldn't be issues about leaving early.
    3) Would happily let him walk for 2014 draft pick(s) compensation. It's the same as Ray Allen jumping ship when things didn't go their way. You leave by your own will, you're a sellout. If he leaves, he deserves backlashed anger. But it'd go away as quickly as Karl signs with us and beats Doc's Clippers month 1 of the season.

  • GymRat

    Whatever happened to Celtic pride?

    Yes, I will absolutely and justifiably think less of Doc if he jumps ship. If he retires that's another thing. He signed a 5 year deal which he had to know was longer than KG and likely Pierce would continue to be in Green. If he leaves to coach another "contender" then he's basically giving up on the franchise and serving his own best interests…while breaking his contract.

    Ray's contract was over. He didn't break his deal and demand to be traded.

    Is Doc's leaving understandable? Yes

    Is that respectable? No. Not when you sign a contract knowing that it extends past the prime of your stars and not unless he gets a chance to coach the Hornets/Pelicans.

  • Michael

    This whole thing is an embarrassment. It is embarrassing that the standards for reporting in this day and are " sources said" or "according to a report". It is an embarrassment to Doc that he allows this to go on. Been a Celtic fan since 1965. Doc might be my favorite coach ever. Having said that he most certainly is hurting his standing with this behavior. He is making most of the things he has said for years into a falsehood with this situation. The situation facing the Celtics is EXACTLY what he signed on for and this is simply not honorable behavior on his part.

  • Matthew

    I will be hurt if Doc leaves. Angry that he didn’t keep his word. Greatfull for the time he gave us and the culture he helped reestablish. But I will not view him as a friend while he coaches another team. Similar to Ray. ..Doc is making the choice. Paul and kevin have little control. So while the season is going and while he may coach another team…he along with the rest of the league is the enemy. We stuck by doc so did danny and I will remember that he couldn’t do the same.

  • Fred

    I expect that Doc will leave. He has been riding Paul and KG's coattails for a long time now. He stuck around after Ray left but if Paul and KG are gone he will also go. He never wanted to play the young guys and if Paul and KG leave, he may have to. It won't happen.

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