“Celtics Nation,” may understand the reasons that Doc Rivers is leaving their team’s bench, to spend the next three years trying to get the Los Angeles Clippers, their first NBA Title; but that does not translate into liking the idea. Rivers has three years remaining on his contract and decided he did not want to spend them coaching a rebuilding squad. Subsequently, the team’s owners, were none too keen on the concept, of paying a bench boss $21 million over that period, if their club’s chances of making the Finals, would be slim at best.
With Rivers heading to the opposite coast, it would seem to be a pretty safe bet, that the roster that shows up to training camp in October, will be decidedly different, than the squad that lost to the New York Knicks in the first round of the Playoffs, this spring. Last week, it appeared that Kevin Garnett would be joining his coach in Los Angeles, however word came down from the Association’s front office, that Commissioner David Stern, would not take kindly to that maneuver.
Although the “Big Ticket” may not be with the Clippers next season, it s difficult to envision him still playing for his current team, in the next campaign. Given the right situation, it is quite viable that Garnett, could win at least one more NBA Championship ring, before he hangs up his sneakers. That scenario, most likely is the way the All-Star big man would like to leave the Association, rather than exiting in frustration, as a member of a non-contender.
Boston, has to make a decision about the future of the club’s other All-Star forward Paul Pierce, in the next few days. The club can buy him out of the last year of his contract for $5 million before June 30, or they have to pay him $15.3 million for next season. Pierce, has far too much market value, for the Celtics to eat that big a chunk of change; “The Boston Globe,” reported on Monday, that according to sources, the Cleveland Cavaliers are trying to interest the “Green Team,” in a package of second round draft picks for the veteran. The Cavaliers have enough room under the cap to absorb, the forward’s salary, freeing up cap-space for Boston, as they head into their rebuild.
The biggest question heading into the summer, is exactly what does Boston’s President Of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge, decides to do about the player who he thought he was going to build his club around, All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo. If the guard can make a full recovery from ACL surgery, he is one of the five most talented points in the Association; there are however, the same rumblings about him not playing well with others, that have plagued him for the last few years. With two years left on Rondo’s contract, will Ainge decide to blow the Celtics up by trading the point guard?
The other issue that looms on the horizon, is who the franchise brings in to take the bench over from the departing Rivers. The “Usual Suspects,” are once again, getting play in this discussion. Why Vinnie Del Negro’s name has come up, is rather confounding, as he proved without a doubt, that he was inept in his efforts with the Clippers and the Chicago Bulls. Jerry Sloan, while having the teaching skills, that would benefit a young team, is most likely a little past taking over a rebuilding squad. There must be an easier way to get Jeff Van Gundy, out of the broadcast booth, than to saddle the Celtics with him as head coach. Stan Van Gundy, would seem to have the perfect personality to coach a Boston team, but many looked at Bobby Valentine with the Red Sox the same way.
The two candidates that this corner would like to see Boston concentrate on, both have ties to their chief rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers and both bring baggage to the table. Byron Scott, dismissed from his third head coaching position, a few weeks ago, by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Although Scott never had any success in Cleveland, he showed this reporter enough during his stints with the Nets and the Hornets, that he can bring a team success as a bench boss. The other coach at the top of my wish list would, be Indiana Pacers assistant coach Brian Shaw, who would be going to Boston without head coaching experience. Unless Phil Jackson, throws his hat into the ring, those would be the two men, I would concentrate on, if asked by Ainge.