What's next? "It's not you, it's me?"
The latest episode of As The Celtics Turn includes this little insight from Ken Berger of CBS Sports:
According to an NBA front-office source, Rivers has given indications that he "might be ready for a new situation."
Rivers has been attending the Celtics' pre-draft workouts and huddling with Ainge to chart the offseason strategy -- one that could become an exit strategy for Rivers if the remnants of Boston's Big Three era can't be parlayed into moves that sustain the team as a championship contender.
"[Doc] has been pretty open that he doesn't want to coach in a rebuilding environment," said a person briefed on Rivers' conversations with Ainge. "And if they make some moves, they're not going to have a rebuilding environment. That's Danny's challenge."
Based on the tone of Berger's article, maybe it's not a question of whether the team will still include Paul Pierce and/or Kevin Garnett. Doc just wants a chance to win. Much has been made about the loyalty that Doc has for his players and certainly the loyalty they have towards him in unquestionable, but Doc understands the business side of basketball and that being competitive with the same players year in and year out doesn't last forever.
As Berger points out, with the Celtics capped out and with few options heading into the summer, it'll be more than difficult to make enough moves that would make Boston a contender quickly. Only in retrospect will we know Doc's true intentions. With the draft two weeks away and free agency around the corner, he'll have to have a decision really soon.
Let's play it out.
If Doc's gone, that'll certainly point to the departure of Paul Pierce and the retirement of Kevin Garnett. Danny will get whatever he can for The Captain's expiring contract or maybe young pieces from a team one grizzled vet away from a championship. KG will hang them up, staying true to his comments that Doc is the only coach he'll play for anymore. Rajon Rondo will be diligent in his rehab but won't push it to come back to re-join his old crew of six years.
But even if Doc announces that he's returning this week, we still won't know the futures of PP and KG. We've all thought that the ball was in Rivers' court when it came to this decision, but as Berger hints, this is "Danny's challenge." If he can work similar magic to what he pulled in 2007, Doc would probably stay. Whether that's converting his grizzled vets into young studs or parceling together role players for another star, that's all on Ainge's plate.
But even as I type that last sentence, I realize that Danny can only do so much if he doesn't know if Doc's coming back or not. Even if Danny could bring in another star, who would come here without a coach in place? Doc has always been one of the key selling points for players coming to Boston so in effect, Danny's "challenge" doesn't really start until he knows what he's dealing with and more importantly, who.