Austin Rivers gives his take on Doc's departure

Austin Rivers gives his take on Doc's departure
July 16, 2013, 9:00 am
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LAS VEGAS -- Austin Rivers had a unique perspective into his father's trade from the Boston Celtics to become head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers. Doc led the C's for nearly half of Austin's life, and after nine years the move was a difficult decision, Austin shared.

Last month the Celtics dealt Rivers to the Clippers in exchange for a future first round draft pick. The 20-year-old New Orleans Pelicans guard recalled conversations Doc had with their family, some that became emotional.

"He just had a thought process that KG and those guys were probably going to move forward and move on," Austin told CSNNE.com at Las Vegas Summer League. "He wants to be in a position to win and I think things fell into place. He loved Boston, I know that for a fact. It was so tough for him to leave. It made him teary-eyed when he was talking about it with the family. He didn't want to leave, that kind of made him as a coach, the city, but things move on and he's in a good situation now, so I'm very happy for him."

Shortly after Rivers was traded, the Celtics sent Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets in a move that began a new phase for the organization. Austin is glad is father has an opportunity to coach a deep team, one that could be pushed to the next level with him at the helm.

"He's the best coach in basketball, him and (San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg) Popovich are the two best coaches, so I think he could help anybody," said Austin. "He's experienced, he's smart, and he draws up great plays. He's a defensive coach and his best attribute is he can relate to players. He was a great player so he knows how to relate, how to give players their space and not be on them too much, he knows how to let players lead and let them play free range and at the same time keep them under the team concept. That's what he did with Paul and KG, that's how he was able to put that together. At the end of the day you've got to have great players to win. You can have a great coach and not win anything. My dad coached the worst team in the league and they're not going to win a championship. He has Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, the list goes on. They have a lot of pieces there and it'll be exciting to watch them and play against them."

Austin only faced his father once as an NBA player in his rookie season (he was injured in the Celtics second matchup), but that will soon change. Doc could coach against the Pelicans four times this season now that he is in the Western Conference.

"It'll be different," he said. "I think it'll be less weird because I play him four times, so it will be less special of an event. They're a great time. The Clippers and us always go at it for whatever reason, that's like the most physical game of the year for us. Now that'll add something to it."

The changes will be felt off the court as well. Life will change for the Rivers family, based in the Orlando area, with Doc in Los Angeles. Over the years he made frequent trips from Boston to Winter Park to see his wife and four children during the season.

"It's a big adjustment because he's across the country," said Austin. "My mom, she's alone, and my dad's far away. I imagine this year after my little brother (Spencer) graduates high school, I think she'll probably move out to LA with him."

All of the events that have happened over the last month will make Doc's return to a very familiar place feel more different than ever. Austin hopes Celtics fans will give him a positive welcome when he coaches against his former team at the TD Garden.

"I would hope it would be a well reception, that they respect him enough to give him what he deserves," said Austin. "He was there for a long time, through the good and the bad. They were one of the worst teams in the league and he stuck with them and he didn't want to go anywhere else. But people are diehard fans in Boston. You've got to understand if they don't. That's part of sports."