Doc Rivers Reportedly Questioning His Future As Celtics Coach

Ethan GrantAnalyst IJune 12, 2013

Doc Rivers has been the head coach of the Boston Celtics for the last nine seasons, leading the franchise to the playoffs in seven of those campaigns since 2004 and bringing the Larry O'Brien Trophy back to Boston (NBA title No. 17) in 2008. 

As rumors about head coaching changes continue to swirl in league circles, another one was released this week concerning the 51-year-old front man in Boston. Rivers is reportedly unsure if he wants to continue coaching the C's for a 10th straight season. 

ESPN's Chris Broussard had the report on Wednesday afternoon, citing a source close to the situation in Boston right now. Per his report, Rivers has been quoted as saying it "may be time for a change," even though team president Danny Ainge has stated that Rivers will be back on the sidelines next season. 

Here's an excerpt from Broussard's report:

Rivers, who has been attending the Celtics' pre-draft workouts, is unsure of what he wants to do and has not yet ruled out returning to Boston for a 10th season. He has a very close relationship with Ainge, and the source said that is one factor that is making his decision so difficult.

If Rivers were to walk away from the three years and $21 million remaining on his contract with the Celtics, it is not clear whether he would seek another coaching job next season or sit out and possibly return to broadcasting.

Broussard also mentioned that if Rivers were to express a desire to find a new job right away, the Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets would undoubtedly be interested in bringing him into the fold for interviews concerning their coaching vacancies. 

The Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies and Philadelphia 76ers are the organizations that currently still have head coaching jobs to fill in the coming weeks.    

Previously expressing to Boston Globe reporter Gary Washburn that he was still unsure of his C's future on Sunday, Rivers apparently communicated via text with the writer that he'd "rather not say" when asked about his plans to return following the offseason. 

Boston was ousted by the New York Knicks in the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs, a finality that has reportedly given Rivers second thought to the idea of sticking around for what could be a rebuilding effort very soon. 

After George Karl was fired from the Nuggets earlier this year, Rivers became the second-longest tenured coach in the NBA behind San Antonio's Gregg Popovich. As noted by the ESPN piece, the top five on that list (Rick Carlisle, Scott Brooks and Erik Spoelstra were the others) and Phil Jackson are the only coaches to reach the NBA Finals since the 2009-10 season. 

Rivers carved out a nice role for himself as an athlete in the NBA, playing in 13 career seasons after being drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 1983. He played for four NBA franchises, posting career averages of 10.9 points and 5.7 assists before retiring as a San Antonio Spur in 1996. 

He first entered coaching in 1999, when he took over the Orlando Magic for four full seasons and had a brief stint in another. He won NBA Coach of the Year honors in his rookie season (1999-00) with Orlando, but never made it out of the first round of the playoffs in three tries. 

After being fired midseason during the 2003-04 campaign, Rivers took the Celtics job the next year and started what has been a blossoming relationship between himself and the city of Boston, team management and his "Big Four" of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen (now with the Miami Heat), Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett

That foursome helped Rivers and the Celtics win the NBA Finals in the 2007-08 campaign. 

The Celtics also reached the finals in 2010, losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in heartbreaking, seven-game fashion. Despite age and injuries that have started to set in on the roster, Rivers has kept the Celtics competitive. He has taken the team to the playoffs the last three years and did so this year without Rondo, who was lost in the latter half of the season with an ACL injury. 

Knowing the value of pre-draft preparations and how to build a winning NBA franchise, there's little doubt Rivers knows the value of making a decision sooner rather than later. Owner of the No. 16 pick in the 2013 NBA draft, Boston needs to develop a strategy and have a coach in place before the first round commences in late June.  

If Rivers has indeed coached his last game for Boston, he will end his career with the Celtics with seven seasons of over .500 ball, and three trips to at least the Eastern Conference Finals. 

Rivers has a career coaching record of 587-473, good enough for a winning percentage of .554. Four times he has led the Celtics to seasons that included 50 wins or more.