The Doc Dilemma, Part II

Say goodbye, Boston

Say goodbye, Boston

According to multiple ESPN and LATimes reports, the Celtics-Clippers deal has fallen through and trade talks will not resume.

Does anyone out there believe this? I absolutely believe that legitimate, trustworthy sources confirmed this, but I’d be shocked if this actually happened. Until another coach is hired in LA, this isn’t dead. That said, Byron Scott is interviewing today and Brian Shaw tomorrow, while Lionel Hollins has already interviewed for the job.

If the Clippers do hire another coach, then this thing is dead. Sort of. For anyone thinking this deal will happen without Doc, you’re probably wrong. Yes, the Celtics almost traded KG to the Clippers for Jordan, Bledsoe and a first at the deadline. But we never knew if KG would waive his no-trade clause then – it didn’t get that far. If Doc isn’t included now, KG probably won’t waive it. He wants to play for Doc, and Doc alone as well as finishing his career next to Pierce. He’s very loyal to his most trusted brothers in combat.

So what to do now that this relationship has been soiled and hurt between Rivers/KG/Pierce and the team/media/fans? Get over yourselves, everyone. There’s nothing to fix. No one is going to take offense at Doc wanting to win or KG wanting to stay with the best coach he’s ever had/the coach that got him an NBA Title. It’s part of the business and, as much as my 12-year-old self hates to admit it, this is a business. Everyone is going to be fine. This isn’t Dwight or Carmelo or Deron Williams. It’s different, entirely. I could try to explain it, but if you need it explained my rambling isn’t going to help you understand.

So, where do we go from here? Doc still doesn’t really want to coach here anymore. It’s nothing personal, and it’s not really about “here” as in Boston as in “here” the situation the Celtics are in with their roster and cap space (or rather lack thereof). It wouldn’t surprise me to see Doc take a year off; he’s been trying to since they lost to the Lakers in 2010. Assuming this happens, what does the rest of the roster do?

For starters, Kevin Garnett will retire. No questions asked. It’s why this trade with the Clippers was such a good thing – the Celtics were getting something (valuable somethings, in my opinion) for Garnett and something for Rivers (which almost never happens when a coach leaves – it takes a real stand up guy and a ballsy GM to do it), more than they would get if both just walked away.

If the team is lucky, they could swing a deal with Garnett where he gets traded to another team who sends us an expiring contract (1 year remaining, probably big money somewhere from $5M-$12M) they don’t want to pay along with a draft pick, and then KG retires. KG’s “new” team wouldn’t have to pay him anything, they would be able to free some money from their cap they don’t want, and in exchange for the Celtics helping them out, they send along a draft pick.

Of course, Doc could always find another team ready to win that needs a coach, the only problem is that the Clippers were really the perfect fit. They need an extra veteran piece, a better coach, and have young superstar talent in Blake Griffin and Chris Paul (presuming he resigns) to compliment KG, likely Pierce, and the best coach in the NBA.

And finally, what happens to Paul Pierce if KG and Doc leave town? The Truth won’t be afraid to speak his mind. Remember Paul Pierce circa 2006-2007? The guy who had mysterious injuries, wouldn’t play, would come back and be amazing to showcase his talent for a trade suitor or free agent team, and then spend every other waking moment complaining? That’s what we’re going to have, albeit a much less talented, actually hurt, possibly a little more mature version of him. And, frankly, a bit more deserving of his requests this time around. Ainge will buy Pierce out for $5M and let him go on his merry way to play for whomever he likes, likely following Garnett and/or Rivers if either is still in the league. Either way, Paul doesn’t want to lose anymore. He’d have to accept a much lesser role anywhere else, but he’d be a good fit on just about any contending team.

Could the whole gang come back together? Of course. But what good will that do them? They aren’t going to win, they aren’t going to be good, and they’re wasting years of their lives and careers. Don’t forget Ainge will go insane trying to get rid of them for something. The man never stops, and at this point, he shouldn’t.

So is this deal dead? Maybe. I’m not convinced. But either way, this is the sloppy, public beginning of the end of an era in Boston.

Readers can follow Pat on Twitter at @PatBradleyUSCHO

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The Doc Dilemma

Why should Celtics coach Doc Rivers stay in Boston?

Why should Celtics coach Doc Rivers stay in Boston?

The second-greatest coach in Celtics’ history no longer wants to be here. It’s as simple as that. And, well, who could really blame him? Some have argued Doc is losing credibility, weaseling his way into a new contract and forcing his way out of Boston the same way Dwight Howard, Deron Williams, Carmelo Anthony and other “superstar” losers (albeit very skilled players) have done. This time it’s a little different because he’s a coach.

On the bright side, he isn’t Jerry Sloan. He isn’t completely abandoning ship. Several sources have cited Doc as saying he wants to leave Boston in better condition than it is now, which, while it sounds crazy – isn’t. The Celtics are in a terrible position right now. Paul Pierce is a horse with a broken leg. Kevin Garnett is a ticking time bomb waiting for his body to betray him further than it already has. Jeff Green may never be a true #1 star, but will never get the chance with Pierce still on the team. Their prized young forward, Jared Sullinger, is coming off back surgery – the same ailment that caused him to drop so far down in the draft for the Celtics to pick up in the first place. If everyone stays, they have zero cap room to work with and unless they capture lightning in a bottle and stay completely healthy from October to June – a nearly impossible predicament – they won’t win a thing. They arent going anywhere, can’t make any moves, or if they do they’re blowing the team up and rebuilding. Rivers has already endured that process in Orlando, and then again in Boston for a few years before the KG/Big Three Era began. Now, he’s widely regarded as arguably the best coach in the NBA (With respect to Gregg Popovitch and Phil Jackson who isn’t technically still in the league but still feels a phone call away from his millionth comeback) and deserves to win. He loves Boston, it’s a second home for him, so he wants them to do well and be in a good position. He knows though that a good position means valuable chips for the rebuilding process, not stuck where they are now. He wants out, and he wants the C’s to get compensation for him and whomever he takes with him (a la Kevin Garnett).

CelticsLife.com hates this deal, calling it “a colossal failure” and stating that “trading Garnett and Doc for just DeAndre Jordan and draft picks in the 20s is not enough.”

I disagree. Garnett is only playing for Doc Rivers and a ring at this point, but mainly Doc. There likely isn’t another coach he would play for. The guy is making $12M/year for the next two seasons, has trade value, and could walk away and retire to leave you with nothing at any given moment. Any one of those reasons is enough to try and trade something for Garnett alone. All three make it stupid not to. The same goes for Rivers, who simply doesn’t have faith in this group anymore, doesn’t really want to be here anymore, doesn’t want to rebuild, and has almost walked away several times and could at any time to go into broadcasting – something he is terrific at – until the right job comes calling. He could screw us over, walking away and never thinking twice. He wants the best for the team, organization, and city, and deserves to be happy.

He’s not going to New York, he’s not going to Miami, and he’s not going to the Lakers. He just wants to win, wants to coach Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and needs a better supporting cast to do so. This trade is a win-win scenario for both teams.

That said, who could the Celtics turn to as his replacement? Let’s take a look at some of the bigger, sexy names on the market.

1.) Brian Shaw: No way this happens.

Shaw was drafted by the Celtics in 1988 and, long story short, had a huge contract dispute with them in the early 90s that is still cited in law school classes today. Boston Celtics v Brian Shaw is probably enough to keep him away, but winning three titles with the Lakers as a player, then scouting and coaching in their organization for nearly 10 years following his retirement is enough to prevent him from taking this job, especially during a rebuilding faze.

2.) Phil Jackson: Highly unlikely, but slimly possibly.

Seriously, Phil coaches Legends and he likes to win things in threes, or at least get there. He’s coached both Jordan three-peats, the first Lakers three-peat with Kobe and Shaq, then helped the Kobe/Pau teams go to three straight finals, winning the last two. He likes superstars. Is Rondo enough? Probably not. Could Dwight Howard or Chris Paul or BOTH be? Yes. And, don’t forget to cite your sources folks – this could happen in Boston. More on this later though.

3.) Lionel Hollins: Best option, could happen, but he deserves better.

I mean, really, anyone deserves better than Rondo, some role guys with potential, and the Boston media/fans to deal with. Then again, Doc basically did the same thing taking on a bratty Superstar (Pierce), a bunch of no ones with some potential (Al Jefferson became a B+ star of the group traded for KG, Kendrick Perkins was our “overrated” center on what could have been a three-peat of our own), and the Celtics lost 24 straight games the year before the KG trade. Now, Doc is the most respected guy in the league. So there’s that.

4.) Tom Thibideau: See – Farrell, John.

Okay, so this job was Thibs’ to lose if Doc had left a couple years ago, but he didn’t and Thibs took the Bulls job in Chicago. He’s got a superstar in Derrick Rose (if his head ever heals, let alone his ACL), a B+ guy with the grit and toughness and rebounding to make him an A in Joakim Noah (sort of a Dennis Rodman type), and a bunch of wiley veterans that continue to win in spite of everything thrown at them. Someone tell me why he would leave? A homecoming would be great news for Celtics fans, but it’s unlikely.

5.) Insert Van Gundy Brothers Here: Dear God, Help Us All.

Yup, that pretty much says it all.

You decide: Will Doc Rivers be the coach of the Celtics next season?