Doc Rivers Rumors
Rivers has one year remaining on his contract with the Clippers. It’s rare in today’s NBA for a head coach, particularly one of Rivers’ stature, to enter the final season of his deal without some clarity about the future. The thinking goes that such uncertainty signals to players and staff a lack of faith on the organization’s part. Sources say that there’s been no meaningful outreach from the Clippers to Rivers’ camp about a potential extension. When asked whether his desire is to remain with the Clippers for the foreseeable future, Rivers conveys a hint of ambivalence. “I love my job,” Rivers says. ” I love it here. I love the guys. I love the organization. It’s so much better than when I got here. So, most likely, yes.”
Several former Clippers characterized in Rivers a tendency to placate a player by telling him what he wanted to hear, on occasion even criticizing a teammate that player was beefing with. Rivers didn’t account for the fact that players, even ones who aren’t always simpatico, talk among themselves and exchange notes. Though players regard him as reasonably honest in film sessions and on game night, keeping inventory of what their coach said about specific players became a parlor game among those players and their confidants.
“It was kind of weird for the guys,” Pierce says. “Maybe people felt favoritism because his dad was coaching — and playing — him. I look at it that, if I was coaching my son, I’d probably have done the same damn thing, and paid him, too. But it was really hard for people to grasp that. I know the dynamic of Doc and his son. While Austin was growing, Doc wasn’t really around. He saw an opportunity to have his son around. At the end of the day, Austin was a lottery pick, and he just needed the right situation. Doc thought he could give that to him. And he’s turned into a solid NBA pro.”
What’s more, multiple sources said two current head coaches — Doc Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers and Mike Budenholzer of Atlanta – have more than a passing interest in the Bucks’ job and coaching the NBA’s brightest young star in Giannis Antetokounmpo. Some NBA officials said Budenholzer, who guided the Hawks to 60 wins just three seasons ago when he was accorded NBA’s Coach of the Year honors, also doesn’t want to be part of an extensive rebuild in Atlanta.
NBA officials are convinced Mills and Perry will look to bring in their own guy. There’s no shortage of potential candidates — Mark Jackson, Dave Fizdale, Doc Rivers, Jason Kidd, Jerry Stackhouse and David Blatt have all been mentioned in speculation. “That’s part of the NBA,’’ Lee said of the coach’s uncertainty. “Trade deadline, everybody is in trade talks, everybody is in free-agent talks. You got to go about your business. You can’t let that distract you and that’s the same thing for [coaches]. They hear the talk. You still have to go about your job so it’s all the same. It’s all about being professional.”