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?

Last Hurrah for Pierce?

Pierce trophy

 

After a thrilling Game 4 overtime victory in Boston Sunday afternoon, the Celtics survived to push their first round playoff series at least an extra game. Tonight at 7 pm, the Celtics take on the Knicks in what could very well be the final game in a Celtics uniform for Boston lifer Paul Pierce.

“The Truth” was drafted 10th overall by the Celtics in 1998 and after surviving trade requests amidst one of the worst seasons and losing streaks in NBA History, Pierce won a championship in 2008 with the Celtics and, truth is, every one thought he would retire here.

He still might, but tonight may be the last time we see his name on the back of a Boston uniform until it’s inevitably raised to the rafters.

Pierce has lost a few steps in recent years, most notably this year in his age 35 season – especially once point guard Rajon Rondo was lost for the season and Pierce was needed to shoulder the offensive loud. We love Pierce. He’s an All-Time Great Celtic. Every 20-something in New England grew up idolizing not Jordan, but Pierce. He’s the reason I even have half a fade-away in my own retired arsenal on the court, and why I’d rather tip toe through defenders than take spot up threes until the game is on the line. He says he’s not retiring yet, but it doesn’t matter. He may not be a Celtic when camp breaks in the fall.

Celtics GM Danny Ainge said last year he thought the biggest mistake the Celtics made when their original Big 3 of Larry Bird, Robert Parish, and Kevin McHale got old and their careers were winding down was not trading them while the team could still get some sort of value for them, in order to stay competitive going forward. The Celtics went from historic to laughable in a matter of months, and Ainge already has one of the worst teams in NBA history on his resume. He’s claimed he doesn’t want to do it again.

So is this the end? Experts claim Pierce has the most trade value between he and Kevin Garnett. No one really knows what KG is going to do, but he still has two years left on the contract he signed last offseason to return to Boston. Both Players wanted another shot at a title after they took the eventual champion Miami Heat to 7 games in the Eastern Conference Finals. They got it this year, but injuries and age have finally completely caught up to them.

Pierce had this to say earlier today to reporters on whether or not he might get traded this offseason:

“Truthfully, I haven’t put too much thought into it. The organization is going to do what they’re going to do. It’s nothing that’s stressing me out. That’s what it is. Every year they’ve got decision to make. Those are their decisions. I leave it to them.”

When asked about retiring, Pierce assured the media he wasn’t planning on hanging up his Nike’s just yet.

“Right now it’s year-by-year. I expect to play another year next year and then evaluate after that. I always said I wanted to end my career as a Celtic. But they are the ones (with the decision). I have a year contract for next year but it’s not guaranteed so the decision’s in their hands. But whatever decision they make, maybe, if they trade me somewhere or I end up somewhere else maybe it could be a situation where I come back for a one-day deal and retire a Celtic.”

Tonight could very well be the last time we ever see Paul Pierce in a Celtics uniform. Relish it. You’re watching the best Celtic in the last 20 years, and one of the best Celtics of all time, slowly end an incredible career in Boston. You’re watching a Hall of Famer, an NBA Champion, The Truth.

Yes, the Bruins open their playoff series tonight. The Red Sox are playing the Blue Jays on NESN +. But that can wait. Pay your respects, say a prayer, and appreciate one of the best players in NBA History and one of the better Celtics on a list of historic icons before it’s too late.

Paul Pierce is The Truth.

And truth is, we’re gonna miss him.

Why I Love Sports: The Day The Terrorists Lost

Sports is usually our escape. Our getaway. Our sanctuary.

Monday in Boston, it was our crime scene. Just after the four hour mark of the Boston Marathon, two bombs went off at the finish line, killing at least 3 people and injuring hundreds others.

The Bruins and Celtics both canceled their games, and the Red Sox were on their way out of town. In a season where there is often 3 Boston teams playing on any given night, there were none. And that was okay. Sports took a backseat to life in our neck of the world, as we tried to piece together what had happened hours before. What followed, however, is a reminder of why we love sports in the first place. The games are our comfort, their events a distraction. We hate other teams and players so we don’t hate our own, and we rally around one cause that brings us together so passionately.

Despite the hated rivalries across professional sports that Boston maintains, sometimes events and people transcend sports. Yesterday’s tragedy at the Boston Marathon is one such instance. Several teams, athletes and news outlets have taken to different forms of media to express their sympathy and prayers to the city of Boston and all those affected by it’s rivalries. Below is a montage of just some of the outpouring of love and respect the sporting world has shown us in our time of need.

Probably the coolest, most touching gesture of them all: late Tuesday afternoon the Yankees tweeted “We stand united with Boston” with a picture

A touching display outside Yankee Stadium from typically hated rivals

A touching display outside Yankee Stadium from typically hated rivals

The team later announced that they would play “Sweet Caroline,” a song that is a staple of Fenway Park at every game, after the third inning following a moment of silence before the game. Here’s video from the Yankees Network of the stadium during the song.

Yankees fans also came out to the ballpark in support of Boston

Scenes like this were not uncommon Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium

Scenes like this were not uncommon Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium

The acts of kindness didn’t go unnoticed

Neil Diamond

thanks ny

The Yankees weren’t the only ones showing their support though. Across the NBA, NHL, and MLB, Moments of Silence were observed before most games. Across baseball, the Marlins, Cubs, Reds, A’s, Indians, Yankees and Braves all played Sweet Caroline at some point during their games. The University of South Carolina, Jackie Bradley Jr.’s old stomping grounds, played the song during their game as well. The Brewers played the theme song to “Cheers!” a  famous TV show about a Boston bar.

The Montreal Canadiens, the biggest rivals of the Boston Bruins, were one of the teams to salute Boston with a moment of silence and a Twitter shout out.

Canadiens Tweets

In Chicago at the Blackhawks game, a moment of silence was held. Right at the end, a fan somewhere yelled “we love you, Boston!” and the crowd erupted in cheers that continued straight through the National Anthem. Typically a silent event, Chicago fans decided to cheer through the powerful rendition of the Anthem just like fans were cheering at the finish line of the Boston Marathon when the bombs went off.

Today’s edition of the Chicago Tribune paid tribute to Boston as well, saying “We are Chicago” with the five major Boston sports logos underneath.

The cover of the Sports section of the Chicago Tribune

The cover of the Sports section of the Chicago Tribune

In Philadelphia, Phillies closer and former Red Sox pitcher Jonathan Papelbon expressed his sorrow and disbelief over the situation. Papelbon used to live in a building right above where one of the bombs went off.

“I used to live right above where one of the bombs went off,” Papelbon said. “It’s kind of surreal. I don’t know man, it’s crazy. It’s hard to even think about.

“I lived right above Abe and Louie’s,” he said referring to a steakhouse in the area. “It’s sad, man.”

Papelbon wasn’t the only Phillie to respond to the situation. Outfielder Ben Revere wrote the words “PRAY For Boston” on a piece of tape that he placed on his glove. Then, he made the catch of the year.

A touching display from Ben Revere followed by the catch of the year

A touching display from Ben Revere followed by the catch of the year

Everyone’s support endured.

Torey Smith tweets

Ravens Wide Receiver Torey Smith

NBA superstar and Celtic arch-nemesis LeBron James

NBA superstar and Celtic arch-nemesis LeBron James

Carmelo tweet

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony

cory Schneider

Vancouver Canucks and former Boston College goalie Cory Schneider

Jets tweet

The New York Jets

MWP

Lakers Forward and longtime Celtics rival

Kobe Tweet

Lakers Superstar Kobe Bryant Tweeted out a picture from Instagram, shown below

Kobe Instagram

And then in Cleveland, a touching display of welcome and support from the city, highlighted by this card from one of  Cleveland’s little tikes.

inside dugout

from our city to yours

Will Middlebrooks, the Red Sox Third Baseman, summed it up best, shown below in an infographic from Comcast Sports Net New England

CSN Middlebrooks Tweet

The Red Sox themselves had their own tribute in the dugout, a jersey with the words “Boston Strong” and the numbers “617”, Boston’s area code, on the back.

Boston Strong Jersey

April 15th, 2013 will never be forgotten in Boston. The acts of the terrorists who planted the bombs have tragically changed our lives forever. But this week will not be remembered as the time that Boston fell.

This will be remembered as the day our city came together and saved each other.

This will be remembered as the day the good guys won.

The day the terrorists lost.

Welcome to Boston.

Sports Illustrated cover

  yanks buds

Hug those you hold dear. Don’t forget to say I love you. Never give up, never back down, and always Keep the Faith.

Pray for those who lost their lives, pray for those who were hurt, and pray for the city of Boston.

May God have mercy on us all and hold us in his graces through this difficult time.

Thanks, America. We love you too.

#BostonStrong