When asked whether or not he is going to return as the Celtics head coach next year, Rivers said, “I’d rather not say,” according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe.
Some believe, or are hearing, that Rivers plans to stay in Boston once weighing his options.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported Rivers is “strongly considering and leaning towards staying.”
However, it’s a very fluid situation that has a lot riding on its eventual outcome. The short-term success of the C’s being the most pertinent.
Right now we’re in check as Rivers, Danny Ainge and Kevin Garnett move their respective pieces across the board.
The coach is wisely biding his time to see how Ainge handles 35-year-old Paul Pierce’s contract over during the coming weeks. If Pierce is retained, the team will have to fork over $15.3 million for his services whereas they have the option to buy out his contract for just $5 million.
The clock is ticking on that decision too, as it must be made before June 30. That is the date for everyone monitoring this situation closely to mark on their calendar.
To this point, there have been conflicting leaks out of Boston about the eventual outcome of this situation. Bob Finnan of The News-Herald reported it’s “likely” Ainge will buy out Pierce’s contract. On the other hand, Rich Levine of CSN New England reported a team source “laughed” at the idea that the team was even close to deciding on the matter.
You can understand the conundrum facing Ainge this offseason: Pierce is an aging star who is slowly fading. Getting rid of him, though, may push Garnett over the fence during his on-going retirement dilemma and help make Rivers’ decision for him.
Whatever ends up happening in Boston, Rivers would be wise to break ties now while there are a multitude of exciting coaching positions available. The Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies are all contenders that could vastly benefit from having Rivers’ energy and experience on their benches.
Rivers and this well put-together Celtics team awoke a sleeping giant on the Boston sports landscape. The Celtics have already been brought back to respectability—Rivers made his mark.
Every great story eventually comes to its end, though, and this is as good a time as any for both sides to start fresh.
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