While the Celtics faithful is preparing for the returns of Doc Rivers as Los Angeles Clippers coach and Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett as Brooklyn Nets, how will Rivers respond to facing the Nets with Pierce and Garnett on the other sideline?
He admitted to the Globe he had not pondered that question but it was clear during the month-long ordeal about his coaching future that Rivers wanted to coach the duo again. That won’t happen, but Rivers believes the Nets will be a factor in the Eastern Conference.
“I hadn’t thought about the Brooklyn part of it,” Rivers said when asked his feeling about facing the Nets with Pierce and Garnett on the opposite team. “That’s the first time I’ve been asked that question. I don’t know, that’s going to be strange. I get very emotional whenever I talk about Kevin and Paul. To see them somewhere else, our business sometimes it’s tough. I leave (Boston) and people get upset at me and I don’t think there’s a lot of difference in their case but it was obvious the Celtics decided to move on.
“So Paul and Kevin had to go and that’s a tough part of the business. But that will be strange for me, I want them to do well. For a lot of reasons I want them to do well, they could knock off Miami. But it will be interesting. It will be a while different feeling.
Rivers said both unquestionably have something left.
“I think obviously Paul’s younger and in tune to play more minutes than Kevin,” Rivers said. “But I think they’re still at the top of their games. I think Paul is still one of those guys who can go off for big nights and still have big scoring nights. Kevin is a culture change. He won’t play but 20 to 25 minutes a night and there’ll probably be nights when he doesn’t play but his presence there alone will absolutely change the culture of Brooklyn. There’s no doubt about it. I think for some of the young guys, even some of the veteran stars, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams, will learn and understand what a winner is and looks like and professionalism and being prepared.
“That’s what I was most impressed with Kevin, how every game he prepared himself for games. That’s what I told our young guys that I just wanted them to watch him prepare for games. It was why he was so consistent. I thought it was that important.”
Rivers had noted trouble telling Garnett he couldn’t play the minutes he desired. But he doesn’t think that will be an issue for first-year coach Jason Kidd.
“I think Jason will be fantastic in that because he probably when through that a little bit himself last year,” Rivers said. “He’ll be able to relate to that 100 percent. I think Lawrence Frank will be so important for Jason as well. You think about Lawrence, he worked with (the Celtics) staff, so he’s worked with Kevin and he’s knows Kevin as well as anybody. So I think that combination will be great for Kevin.”