Before he fielded questions about leaving the Boston Celtics and what comes next with the Clippers, Los Angeles' general manager Gary Sacks began the presser by deeming it one of the greatest moments in Clipper history.
This is truly one of the biggest moments in Clipper history --- Gary Sacks— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) June 26, 2013
This is the most people I've ever seen at a Clippers press conference, slightly more than were here for CP3's presser.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) June 26, 2013
Clippers GM Gary Sacks: "We feel he’s the best coach in the NBA and a perfect fit for the organization."— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) June 26, 2013
Taking the podium amid a sea of reporters following Sacks' introduction, Rivers made it clear that he hoped this was the last time he was at the center of attention.
Doc: "I hope this is the last time I'm the center of attention."— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) June 26, 2013
Going on to address the question of why he was in Los Angeles and not Boston, Rivers answered truthfully, admitting that the only reason he's still coaching is to win championships.
Doc: "Quite honestly, at this point in my life, that’s the only reason I’m coaching, is to try to win titles."— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) June 26, 2013
Was his departure from the Celtics, then, some grand scheme in the making for months or even years? Was joining the Clippers his plan all along?
Absolutely not. It just sort of happened.
Doc: I had no plans on leaving.— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) June 26, 2013
Rivers didn't begin to think about coaching in Los Angeles until the position came available. It was then that he became interested in taking the reins because of the talent the team has.
Doc: "The reason I wanted this when it was made available is because of what they have."— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) June 26, 2013
Doc was of course referring to Paul, the best point guard in the league. When asked if he had spoken with the floor general since arriving in Los Angeles, Rivers said he had.
Has Doc talked to Chris Paul since getting the Clippers job? Rivers: "The answer is yes."— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 26, 2013
One has to imagine that's a good thing and that there had to be some kind of dialogue before the fact. Rivers' arrival is supposed guarantee that Paul re-signs in Los Angeles. He wouldn't have agreed to work for Donald Sterling, and the Clippers owner himself wouldn't be paying him as much as he is ($7 million annually) if that was the case.
Coaching the Clippers wasn't all about CP3, though. He was also thrilled about having the opportunity to coach DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin, the latter of which he believes can become an elite defender.
Doc says with DeAndre and Blake he thinks Clippers can form an unbelievable defense. #WelcomeDoc— Eric Patten (@EricPatten) June 26, 2013
If you say so, Doc. You're the best coach in the NBA after all, right?
Actually, Rivers himself doesn't think so, citing his team's absence from the NBA Finals this year.
Doc refuting the "best coach" tag. "It has to stop. I just watched The Finals and I wasn't in it."— Sekou Smith (@SekouSmithNBA) June 26, 2013
Humbling sentiments like those are part of the reason why Rivers is so well respected. He doesn't take anything for granted, including his time with the Celtics. He even conceded that he had told Ainge he was ready to come back before the trade went down.
Rivers said he told Ainge he was coming back and two hours later Ainge told Rivers he had a deal with the Clippers.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) June 26, 2013
Remember, it's not as if Rivers was hell-bent on leaving because he loathed Boston. Parting ways with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and the rest of the Celtics was difficult for him.
Rebuilding or not, he liked it there.
Doc: "It was not like I was leaving somewhere. I enjoyed where I was at."— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) June 26, 2013
Now he has a new home to like and a fresh crop of players to guide, complete with his own jersey.
Clippers No. 25 jersey made up for Doc pic.twitter.com/Bl0vwpMk1P— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 26, 2013
The Doc Rivers era of Clippers basketball begins now.