The comments hit social media mere moments after the Celtics walked off the court in victory on Monday night. Four years after Doc Rivers left town, the Celts were back in the conference finals, and Doc has yet to get there with the Los Angeles Clippers.
“None of that actually matters to me,” the Clippers coach and president told the Herald yesterday. “I’m happy for the Celtics, and I’m very happy where I’m at. I did what I did for a lot of reasons, so I have no problem with that. Hey, it’s true. They’re in the conference finals, and we haven’t gotten there yet, and I don’t really care on my account. I’m not in competition with that. I’m happy for the Celtics and what they’ve been able to do.
“I can tell you I’ve given that like zero thought, and I’m being completely honest with you,” Rivers said. “To me, I had an amazing nine-year ride in Boston, and I’m so thankful for that, but I’m not greedy. . . . I guess we all are in life, but I don’t look at it in those terms. I really haven’t. Everything would be neat. (Expletive), it would be neat to be the coach of Golden State right now, you know what I mean? But I’m not, and I’m very happy with where I am. I don’t look back like that at things.”
I’m taking Doc at his word. Although his on-court results with the Clippers haven’t matched what’s been achieved by the Celtics under Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens, maybe other factors have given him more satisfaction. He runs the entire L.A. basketball operation and he’s had the opportunity to coach his son, to name two. There’s no reason to doubt that he’s thrilled for his former Celtics colleagues.
But, ironically, Doc’s Clippers right now are looking very similar to the Celtics he left four years ago. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin can both opt out of their final contract years and become free agents heading into next season. Losing one would hurt the Clips badly; losing both would be a disaster.
Furthermore, J.J. Redick is a free agent, Paul Pierce has retired, and Jamal Crawford – while still effective – is 37 years old and on the books for two more years.
Even with all those guys, the Clippers couldn’t come close to challenging the Warriors in the West. If Doc manages to keep the roster mostly intact, it won’t help. If he doesn’t, the Clippers will be facing a rebuild.
Life is funny, isn’t it?