The speculation about the Celtics future starts at the top and this morning on The Dennis and Callahan Morning Show, Celtics coach Doc Rivers shed some light on the thoughts running through his head four days removed from the Celtics Game 7 Finals loss to the Lakers.
Family is the prevailing issue for Rivers, but what makes it difficult is he sounds like a man with two families: the one at home and the one in Boston. He said that even though a couple of his children were out of town playing games, he had a small conversation at home on Father’s Day but would have another one in the coming days.
“We didn’t talk about it at all really,” Rivers told D&C on his regular appearance. “We’ve only even brought it up once since the season’s been over. It’s still very difficult to get through Game 7, let alone talk about your future to be honest.
I’m not going to say which way I’m leaning, and I am one way, but I can look you in the eye and say I’ve not made a decision. We’ve only had a small conversation and we’re going to do that in the next week or so.”
Asked about the idea of a sabbatical, Rivers said it’s something that crossed his mind in recent years.
“A couple years ago, the more you thought about it, the more it was a good thing to do – even if you didn’t have a family,” he said. “Teachers take sabbaticals to freshen their brains, their minds, their outlooks. So I think it’s a healthy thing, I just don’t know when you do it.”
The time off would allow Rivers to watch his three children — all seniors — play sports, something Rivers would go to great lengths to fit into his Celtics schedule. In January, he drove to Springfield after a Celtics practice to see his son Austin score 21 points in the Hoophall Classic. Last November, he used a long set of off days to go to Indiana and see his son Jeremiah play point guard. His daughter Callie plays volleyball at Florida and he says he enjoys it a little more because he knows nothing about the sport.
Rivers ties to his family are obvious, but he also understands that should he leave the Celtics there aren’t many other coaching situations that compare.
“The only reason you stay is because of your love for the guys you coach, and the organization – Danny and all the guys you work for,” Rivers said. “Knowing that if you do leave that, you’re not going to ever get that back. You can get a coaching job back, there’s no doubt about that, but I don’t ever think I’ll get the situation that I have here in Boston back, so that will be difficult to leave. But the other side of it is so strong as well with the family. It’s going to be an interesting decision and I don’t know what it is yet.
“I think what would make you regret it is if there’s a phone call and one of your kids is doing something spectacular – or not – and you’re not there. Going through the injury stuff, you’re going to go through it as a coach regardless. Obviously last year was more than we anticipated, but I wouldn’t have any regrets that way.”
Rivers said he would make his decision before the situations with Ray Allen (an unrestricted free agent) and Paul Pierce (owner of an opt-out) are squared away, so their decisions will have no impact on his. But he admitted that he’s being lobbied by his players.
“I think Ray wants to come back, I think Paul wants to come back,” Rivers said. “Whether Paul opts out or not, we’ll figure that out and Ray I just think we have to go through the process and try to get him signed back.
“I’m getting a lot of texts from them and calls from them right now. That makes you feel good, I’ll tell you that, that you have a group of guys that want to go to battle for you. That makes you feel great.”
Rivers did the radio show as he was preparing to play golf, and he said Celtics president Danny Ainge encouraged him to use these days to simply decompress after a long season.
“He’s been great,” Rivers said of Ainge. “He told me to go away and go on a golf course … and go enjoy your life for a couple days or week or so, and that’s what I’m going to do.”