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Doc Rivers Speaks On Leaving Celtics for Clippers

Doc Rivers has spoken. In his first public comments since officially signing a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers, Jackie MacMullan of ESPNBoston.com caught up with the C’s former coach to get his side of the story on his departure from the Boston Celtics.

“I always knew when I took the job with Boston that I would love the Celtics,” said Rivers, in his first public comments since he entered negotiations with the Clippers. “I knew I would love the tradition and the players. But I had no idea how much I would fall in love with the city and the people in it. Honestly, I get emotional thinking about it. I will cherish every single moment I had in Boston.”

He knows what his sudden detractors, who feel betrayed by his actions, are thinking: If he loved it so much, then why did he leave?

“It was just time,” Rivers answered. “I really don’t think it would be fair to get into all of that right now. I made a decision to talk with all of the Boston media following my press conference with the Clippers (on Wednesday), and I will honor that.

“I’ll explain it to everyone then. But to say I was dying to get out of Boston, dying to leave the Celtics is just wrong. That’s not how it was. That’s not how I felt.”

Much more on the way, including full reaction from Danny Ainge at today’s presser in Waltham. Be sure to check out the full article on Doc over at ESPNBoston.com

  • someguyinsac

    I'm happy for you Doc, you gave many of us more than enough good memories to last for a while while you were here and good luck to you down the road.

  • Mark

    The fact he pushed and received final say or at least significant say on personnel in LA leads me to believe there might have been a growing power struggle in Boston between he and Ainge. It's always been clear that he and Ainge don't see eye to eye as far as style of play. Danny prefers high scoring uptempo teams whereas Doc emphasizes defense over all else. How many times over the years have his teams down the stretch of games struggle to score while getting stops, end up losing, and see Doc blame the defense?

    I have a feeling that Doc won't do well as an evaluator of talent in LA. Also, he had a great ownership group in Boston. It won't be long before Sterling slowly start to strip Doc of his power over personnel decisions. Good luck Doc because you are sure as hell going to need it.

    • jpbl1976

      You know, it's kind of funny — Doc BECAME a defensive-minded coach. Remember that with the 2008 title, they actually brought in Thibs because they needed a stronger hand on defense.

      Doc was always good at devising offensive play calls out of time-outs and the beauty of the C's offense — the ball movement, etc — were Doc's implementations. Of course, he was also guilty of the Toilet Bowl offense that torpedoed us later on as Pierce's one-on-one skills diminished and propensity to commit turnovers increased.


      While I agree with some of the things you said, it is flat our wrong to say Doc was defensive minded. The whole reason for us becoming a defensive juggernaut was purely due to having Thibs create that beautiful system and having KG anchor it. Thibs is a defensive guru and it is well known around the league. The team bought into that philosophy, and it has carried on until now (mainly due to KG). We are simply running Thib's playbook. The proof is in the pudding, look at what Thibs is doing in CHI. Man, what I would do to have that guy back!

      • Josh_5

        As much as this hurts to admit, I actually agree completely. The combination of Thibs with KG would make alot of coaches look good on defense. I'm always gonna like the C's, but if KG retires I gotta admit the Bulls have a very likeable team.

  • james patrick

    It's a sad time to be a Celtics fan but I love Doc and everything he did. It's clear his heart was with KG and Pierce and when Ainge decided to destroy things, He had no choice. I don't blame him. I also don't blame KG and Pierce if they follow. True Celtic fans know where their loyalty was! And Ainge is finally tearing the bandaid off. No one's to blame here. Just the way it goes…

    As far as Ray Allen goes, bastid is and forever will be a trader. Ray didn't owe the Celtics anything since he was always on the trading blocks, but he did owe something to Doc, KG and Pierce AND the Celtic fans! So yes, he's a trader and winning with the Heat this year doesn't make him any less of a trader.


      You just rambled on a bunch of hogwash. "Ainge decided to destroy thing" – Seriously? The reason we even have a championship was due to the moves he made. Need I remind you that Doc was fired from Orlando, and the Celtics was abysmal before the Big 3 during those Doc years?

      Ray didn't owe us anything. He came here to win a championship and he got it. He was constantly in trade talks, he had issues with Doc (being benched, he is a very prideful guy), and the team didn't show interest in him during the offseason due to a bad post-season from the bone spurs. Also, Ray was a free agent.

      Doc was paid the highest, he signed a 5 year contract with the deal to help rebuild, and he quit on us mid-contract when Ainge called him and told him he expects him back to honor the remaining 3 years. Also, Doc is the one that brought up LAC and that he wants to be there to Ainge.

      Please stop sipping that Kool-Aid.

  • Danny

    No hard feelings doc. It is what it is I don’t begrudge u for abandoning ship for sunny LA. But everyone gets whys coming to them. So enjoy your new boss. I’m sure you’ll enjoy working for racist slumlord playing second fiddle in your own city for a franchise with the proud tradition of being pretty much the shittiest organization in all of pro sports. Enjoy.

    • someguyinsac

      I thought for sure that Sterling would scuttle the deal because of the cost, I'm wondering who slipped him the mickey before getting him to sign off on this deal. =)

  • james patrick

    Actually, listening to Ainge's press conference, I am disappointed in Doc. He knew KG and Paul weren't getting any younger. He knew they were going to need to rebuild and he signed up for it. So I wish him well, but just disappointed in his decision.


      Thank you, looks like you finally watched/read up. My above comment to you seems irrelevant now since you understand. He betrayed KG/PP/Rondo. KG signed that contract under the impression that Doc was staying, and from his comments in the media, it was clear that he trusted Doc to stick around. He didn't exhibit any of the loyalty and Celtic pride he talks about. At the end of the day, I am glad he left because he wasn't the right person for the rebuild (he never developed any player) and he was too expensive for that.

      • james patrick

        right, but how is it okay for allen not doc? doc cut out early. it's disappointing. but we got a championship out of it. probably should've had 3 or 4 more. but it is what it is.

  • DreMo

    Doc will have challenges in a loaded west no doubt, especially the Pacific division.

    The East is a decent spot to get younger and retool, as everyone is essentially fighting for #2 .. & with the right mix of rebounding and athleticism, Miami can be beaten. Just a matter of who & when.

  • DreMo

    I’m waiting for the first Clipper Celtic matchup. Think RR won’t have a bone to pick???

  • talesofjp28

    I agree with the previous commentator, Rondo will be ready to go for that first Clips – Celtics game. It will be great to see. I loved Doc, he provided some of the best moments I remember as a Celtics fan (just young enough to have missed the Bird era). It won't be the same team without him, but the Celtics need to get serious about rebuilding and trade KG and PP to contenders. Those guys deserve it.

  • Anthony

    So with the verbiage on Doc's contract, doesn't it almost guarantee KG's return in green? What other team would KG even consider waiving his no-trade clause for? And it's looking more likely that Pierce will at least be in green till Feb if not longer. DA should focus more on trying to get rid of Bass, CLee, JET, and JCrawford and let Pierce and KG ride out in the sunset together in green.


      KG could go to a team like Rockets that has a lot of cap room and can even sign Howard. KG + Howard + Harden + Lin + Parsons, etc…good role players/bench…and he has McHale as a coach whom he has a good relationship with from Minny and respects a lot (Celtic after all :P, still can bleed a bit green there).

      • Anthony

        I was going through the list of teams as well and I thought Houston could be a possibility also for all the reason you mentioned. Only thing is Houston is an up-tempo team and I'm not sure that fits perfectly with KG. Another speculation would be Chicago for no other other than it being his hometown.

        Hopefully he can stay and retire in Boston.

        • Josh_5

          Another thing about Chicago is that they play the style KG likes. They are a defensive-minded team with a coach KG is very familiar with.

  • Maria

    Nothing lasts forever….i just can't see Doc moving to the west coast when his home base is Florida, his son plays for an east coast team and well, he just belongs here. How can he be happy playing for such a backward organization. I am so disappointed. Back in the day…..a coach was the coach til the end and that was that.

    • Danny

      He'll get whats coming to him, the Clippers are a joke of a franchise and so long as Sterling owns them they will be an incompetent mess, its only a matter of time before they are back in the lottery. Never bet against the Clippers finding a way to suck.

  • Josh_5

    If KG comes back to play next year, here is the order of teams I want him to play for:

    1) Boston
    2) Chicago
    3) OKC
    4) Not Clippers