When will the back and forth between Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge end? Former Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers appeared on WEEI this morning to promote September's Hoop Dreams event at the TD Garden in Boston, which is a benefit for Action for Boston Community Development. Of course, being a sports talk radio station, Doc was asked about his relationship with his former partner on the Celtics, Danny Ainge.
Doc wasn't afraid to make his feelings clear, "Honestly, I was very disappointed in that part of Danny's press conference," said the always open and honest Doc Rivers. "Other than that, Danny and I have no issues. Danny knows, just like I know, that that's not true." Of course, Doc is referring to the time Danny claimed Doc is the one who thought of the idea of potentially leaving.
The current head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers made it clear that he understands these questions have to be asked, but he solidified the fact that only he and Ainge know the truth, "there were two people in that room, it was Danny and I, and anyone else who has a comment about what went on doesn't really know because they weren't in that room. It was more than one day. It was several days. It was an agreement."
When asked if his relationship with Danny Ainge has been fractured, he made it clear that this was just another disagreement. "No, it's not. We've had our disagreements when I was there and we've moved on. That was a disagreement on how that was presented. Danny knows that and I know the truth but you move on and we've talked many times since."
Even though Doc later says in the interview that he doesn't care and understands many fans in Boston are unhappy with his departure, it sure seems like Doc feels the need to set the story straight. Instead of deflecting the questions and saying he has flat out moved on, he is clearly open to discuss and expound on the situation that occurred a few months ago.
Despite the fact that Doc seems frazzled by this "drama," it's refreshing to know that he is still grateful as he looks back at his nine years in Boston. "(Danny and I) have a strong relationship; you don't work together for nine years and then don't. I was fortunate in that regard, Danny was great to me, Celtics ownership was great to me, so in that way, there was no hard feelings."
Towards the end of his 13-minute talk with WEEI's Dale and Kirk, Doc points out that one of the hardest things for him is not just leaving the Celtics, but leaving the great city of Boston. He will be back in Boston on September 11th to promote the ABCD program at the TD Garden.
Doc also discussed a number of other topics during his interview on WEEI. Here are some extended quotes:
Q: Is it hard for you to think that there are people back here in Boston that are angry with you?
"No, I get that. Listen guys, you've been in sports for awhile, right? When people leave, there are people who understand and people who don't. I've seen fans of the team and they take it personally. It's personal to them and I get that. I have no issues with that. You know, like I said I've 100 times, it was a very difficult discussion for me. I'm sure it was a difficult for Danny as well. But at the end of the day, it's over, it's done, and you know, I'm here now, but it was never personal towards the people of Boston or the fans, and that's what made it so tough for me.
Q: If we asked you one year ago who wouldn't be a Boston Celtic next season, who would you put your money on, yourself or Paul Pierce?
"I would put my money on Paul Pierce. I had no plans of leaving and it was not something I sat around in the middle of the season, or right after, even, it was the furthest thing from my mind that I would not be the Celtics coach.
Q: Were you surprised that Kevin Garnett left Boston?
"Not really, I just thought it was a tough one for him. You guys don't know Kevin. If he has one fault and there are not a lot of them as a player, he doesn't really allow a lot of people to get to know him. 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, Jason Terry was leaving, and that he was doing it for the right reasons. Not necessarily that he wanted to go, he just thought that this is something that Danny wanted. Danny wanted to rebuild and reload, and he just felt like he was doing the right thing. I don't know if he necessarily wanted to go, but he went, and now when you talk to him, he's excited. He's excited about his new team and he really believes they have a chance of knocking Miami off in the East."
Q: Have you spoken with Rajon Rondo and is he ready to return?
"Yeah, I have. I don't know that answer. I really don't. I talked to all the players. Sully, and Jeff Green, and Courtney Lee, but with Rondo I don't know. I know he's working hard, and that's one of things he told me. He's never worked harder in his life. I don't know if you guys have ever had that injury, I have. You have to work that hard to come back. That's a hard injury, not to come back from, it's just a hard injury to do the rehab. When he comes back, he'll be 100 percent. It's just going to take time."
Q: Do you think Brad Stevens has a chance to be a solid NBA coach?
"Yeah, I mean, I don't know, he hasn't coached in the NBA, but he's a really, really good, solid coach. Brad and I had talked actually before he'd taken the Celtics job, and it was obviously about another job, and he just wanted to know my thoughts. Should he come to the NBA? And I told him, ‘absolutely.' I think he's got the right makeup. And not to say every college coach does or doesn't, but I can tell you I think he does. He's not one of those coaches who thinks it's all about him. And I just think if you've watched his teams play and his demeanor, I think he'll be a very, very good NBA coach."
If you'd like to hear the interview in it's entirety, click here.