MIAMI – Celtics coach Doc Rivers reached out to the Globe for the first time since the season concluded, but would not offer any hints as to whether he will return in a text-message exchange Sunday evening.
Rivers said he needed to “detox” after the season and apologized for being inaccessible to reporters. But he would not give any indication whether he will be back for a 10th season, although president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe last month that Rivers had planned to return.
Rivers himself has not confirmed that and with the Celtics season being over for five weeks, speculation has grown that the beloved coach is seriously considering stepping down.
When asked if he is still in the decision-making process, Rivers told the Globe “I’d rather not say.” Although he has not been available to the media, Rivers has been present for pre-draft workouts and has discussed the future of the season on several occasions with Ainge.
He also has three years and $21 million remaining on the table and several NBA sources believe he would not hold the Celtics hostage for more than a month and then step down, especially with the number of qualified coaches dwindling by the week. There is speculation that Rivers and Ainge are discussing new parameters for the immediate future, including the fates of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
With the draft in less than three weeks and the decision on the contract of Pierce necessary by June 30, Rivers is expected to make his final decision within weeks. He only promised that he would speak publicly about his situation “soon.”
So for now, Celtics faithful will have to wait in anxiety while the team’s future remains in serious limbo.