Doc Rivers Rumors
Head coach Doc Rivers hopes Blake Griffin spends his entire career with the Clippers. At this time of year, trade rumors tend to circulate. But when it comes to his star power forward, Rivers reiterated Thursday on Adrian Wojnarowski’s “The Vertical Podcast” none of the rumors are substantiated, and he plans on keeping Griffin. “It’s funny, you don’t want to go out and send a press release every time there’s a rumor about Blake,” Rivers said. “We are hoping that Blake ends his career playing for the Clippers, period. So, when teams call, we say we have no interest. First of all, no team’s calling right now, because teams know we don’t have any interest. It just tells you the different times. Things have changed. Everyone believes that they’re media now.”
Doc Rivers plans to let Paul Pierce retire as a member of the Boston Celtics if the star decides to end his distinguished career this summer. “If Paul decides to retire then we’re going to make sure that Boston picks him up for one day and he retires a Celtic because that’s what he should retire as,” Rivers said during an episode of The Vertical podcast with Adrian Wojnarowski, which was released early Thursday. “So we have all that in place. We just don’t know what he’s going to do.”
“I think Paul’s going back and forth on it, and I want to give him room. I think he deserves it. From a team perspective you would love that he made his decision eight weeks ago. I think there are certain guys that you just have to give time to, and Paul’s one of them,” Rivers said on the podcast.
Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan have already retired after this past season, and Kevin Garnett still hasn’t decided whether to return for another year. “It may go down as the greatest retirement summer in NBA history,” Rivers said, hailing the competitiveness of that group. “The biggest thing, I think, those guys knew how to play. Kevin’s knowledge of the game — and Kevin doesn’t want to hear it, I literally talked to Kevin last night — but Kevin could be the greatest big man teacher in the game right now if he wanted to be. Whenever he did do it in practice there’s no one better than that. Paul Pierce is an NBA encyclopedia. You can ask Paul Pierce any historical question about the NBA. He knows it, he studies it, he loves it. Duncan’s the same way. What’s neat about all three of them (is) they’re all completely different individuals. I’ve never seen three different people, and Kobe can be four different individuals, yet all great in their own right.”
Rivers has discussed Garnett’s impact on the Celtics organization plenty of times before, but reflected on it again with Wojnarowski. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” Rivers said. “It’s the biggest culture change that I’ve ever seen by one NBA player. Now I didn’t believe it from afar. I always looked at Kevin like, there’s no way some guy’s that excited every night and that nuts. And when he joined our team, his energy at practice, his energy on the airplane — I used to get on our guys, they played cards and stayed up talking about the game the entire East to West flights. And I used to get concerned, like guys, you’ve got to sleep at some point. That team never slept. It was a crazy ride and a great group, but they lived on something else because when Tom Thibodeau is sleeping more than the players you know something’s wrong. And that was the group. It was just a great group, but it was all driven by Kevin, his willingness to sacrifice. The biggest thing with Kevin that I wish the stars understood the most is he had this ability to be coached and to trust. And when he gives his trust to me as a coach, then it’s easier to coach the team. I mean complete trust. Duncan (was) very similar in that right.”
“Every coach, and I say this whenever I speak at clinics, should have had the right to coach Kevin for one minute,” Rivers added. “It would have made their lives better. It would have made them better coaches because when you can get on him — and I got on him — and he says yes sir, I’m sorry, my fault. Some of the times later when I watched I may have been wrong. He still took it. It makes your job really easy.”
During an appearance on The Vertical Podcast with Adrian Wojnarowski, Rivers stressed he intends to keep Griffin in Los Angeles and believes the Clippers could take another step forward with their current core. “Danny and I have talked twice this summer,” said Rivers, who controls Los Angeles Clippers personnel decisions in addition to his duties as the team’s head coach. “One (conversation) was about the British Open, and one was about another golf tournament. That’s about it.”