At the opening of the interview, Doc was asked a hypothetical question about this upcoming year: If only Paul Pierce or Doc Rivers had to leave the Celtics, whom would it have been? Doc was very sure in his answer. He believed that Paul Pierce would have been gone, if it had to have been one or the other. Doc also added, "I had no plans on leaving… (it was) the furthest thing from my mind."
Rivers also had a moment where he sounded a bit like Pierce did in Brooklyn. Pierce waxed poetic about the city of Boston. Doc said, "The tough part for me was leaving Boston… I didn't just fall in love with the Celtics, I fell in love with the city of Boston."
When the conversation shifted to the Los Angeles Clippers, his new team, Rivers was slow to heap any praise on the highly touted Western Conference contender. "On paper we're pretty good. I just don't know… call me back a month into the season. Right now, I just don't know. I like our team on paper." Rivers also mentioned he has not had a chance to coach the team yet, and that he has only spent some time in the gym with the team. Nothing too formal.
Rivers was most prickly when the topic of Danny Ainge came up. He voiced his frustration about Ainge's assertion that Rivers asked out of Boston when it was apparent the team was not going to keep its superstars. At this point, Rivers got defensive and said to Arnold and Menihan that this was "old stuff."
When the topic of old Celtics came up, Rivers was very open about Garnett and the position he was in. During his interview with Jack MacMullen, he said he felt like he and Paul Pierce were "forced out" of Boston. Rivers' comments seem to match that sentiment.
Kevin hates change. Hates it. He's extremely loyal, and at the end of the day, he felt like Paul was gone. I was gone. Terry was leaving… He just thought this was something that Danny wanted. Danny wanted to rebuild and reload. He just felt like he was doing the right thing.
Rivers was also adamant about how hard it is on a coach to rebuild. "It's something I didn't want to do. I've rebuilt three times (twice in Orlando). That's a lot for a coach…it's extremely hard to do. I really didn't want to do it, but I would have done it." That last line is interesting, because it's such an easy thing for Rivers to say now, when he's in L.A. It's like the person at a party who asks if he can help clean up right as every job has been completed. He looks good for asking, and does not have to actually do anything.
Rivers wrapped up the interview talking about Rajon Rondo, and like everyone else who has spoken in public about his injury, Rivers had a lot to say, while adding nothing new to the conversation. He knows Rondo is "working hard" and that the injury is tough to come back from. He said Rondo would be "100% when he returns."
Unfortunately, Rivers does not have the type of clearance to share any meaningful injury updates on Rondo. It does not seem likely that anyone has that type of clearance right now. At what point should fans start to worry about Rondo and his knee?
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