Doc Rivers Reportedly Tried to Fight Rajon Rondo During Celtics Team Meeting

Ethan Grant@DowntownEGAnalyst IJune 22, 2013

Doc Rivers is reportedly on the fence about returning for his 10th season with the Boston Celtics, and according to Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com, it might have something to do with point guard Rajon Rondo

Per Sheridan's report, Rivers has an "intense" dislike for Rondo, stemming from a confrontation the two had in the locker room following a Celtics meeting. Rivers apparently tried to fight Rondo after the All-Star point guard dropped the F-bomb on him.

In his interview with Bill Lekas of SiriusMadDog Radio, Sheridan firmly states:

Doc Rivers does not like Rajon Rondo, OK? This is the No. 1 thing that's driving Doc outta there. He's sick of coaching Rajon Rondo. Rajon is a bad locker room guy. ...

That's why Doc wants out of Boston.

The fight was broken up before anything could happen, but this shows that things are certainly unraveling for a usually steady Boston franchise. 

After finishing seventh in the Eastern Conference during the 2012-13 season, Boston bowed out in the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs to the New York Knicks

Speculation about Rivers' future then began to take center stage on the national scene, as ESPN's Chris Broussard reported earlier in June that Rivers was contemplating a "change" in his life that did not include the Celtics. 

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That revelation opened up the door to a potential coach-for-asset trade with the Los Angeles Clippers that was so heavily publicized that the league office had to step in and remind both sides that trades involving both players and a coach were prohibited. 

On Friday, ESPN's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne reported that the NBA was keeping a close eye on the situation, and that the Clippers were still balking at the idea of sending a first-round pick to Boston for Rivers. 

A mysterious press conference for Rivers and general manager Danny Ainge was scheduled for Friday afternoon at TD Bank Garden, but was then later canceled and rescheduled for Monday. 

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported later in the afternoon on Friday that the on-again, off-again talks between the Celtics and Los Angels Clippers were officially dead, and that Rivers informed L.A. brass he was no longer interested in coaching the Clippers next season. 

Instead, Rivers is apparently deciding on whether to continue his head coaching career in Boston next season or to leave the franchise behind, a situation complicated due to the three years and roughly $21 million remaining on his contract. 

No stranger to fights, Rivers has been known as one of the most fiery personalities in the NBA throughout both his playing and coaching career. 

However, it's certainly disconcerting for the Celtics as a franchise that the player-coach relationship between Rivers and Rondo almost came to blows, especially considering Boston was a playoff team for most of the 2012-13 season. 

This situation with Rondo could point Rivers toward a potential exit from the franchise he led to an NBA Finals victory in 2008.

Drafted by Phoenix in 2006 then traded to Boston, Rondo has spent all of his professional seasons with Rivers and blossomed into one of the NBA's best point guards under his tutelage. 

The 27-year-old was averaging a career-high 13.7 points per game and a league-high 11.1 assists at the time of his ACL injury in January, but he did not return to the Celtics lineup as Boston had to rely more heavily on Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce down the stretch. 

Rondo is the youngest remaining piece from the original "Big Four" of himself, KG, Pierce and Ray Allen. With another early playoff exit the lasting memory of the current season, it hasn't been a surprise to see Boston search for alternatives with both its head coach and aging players.

Sheridan's Saturday report makes it even less of a surprise. 

If talks of a potential rebuilding project weren't enough to sway Rivers away from Boston, locker room tensions certainly won't quell the possibility of a departure.


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