Report: Pierce thinks James tried to steal Rivers from C's

Report: Pierce thinks James tried to steal Rivers from C's
May 13, 2014, 10:45 am
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There had been whispers in the past that Doc Rivers could leave the Celtics and head to South Beach to coach LeBron James and the Heat.

Not many people in Boston thought it would happen. Doc wouldn't bolt Boston and leave Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett behind to coach the rival Heat. That would be the ultimate back-stabbing move.

Ray Allen can tell you all about how C's fans feel about that.

But according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, there was a time that James tried to recruit Doc Rivers to the Cavaliers while he was still with them.

Mannix wrote today about the relationship (or lack thereof) between Pierce and and James over the years, after James went off on Pierce and the Nets last night for 49 points to take a 3-1 series lead. The two have faced off 34 times in the regular season, and 29 more times in the postseason. So yes, they've been going at each other for quite some time. That has undoubtedly made for a heated rivalry, one that doesn't allow for high fives and hugs after games.

But if James did try to steal Doc away from the C's, you can see why Pierce (and Garnett) would have issue with him.

From Mannix:

But Pierce and James will never work out together like James and Kevin Durant, or discuss teaming up when both hit free agency next summer. James's constant complaining irks Pierce, as does his belief, league sources say, that James once tried to recruit Doc Rivers to Cleveland when Rivers was coaching the Celtics.

Pierce probably has good reason to believe it's true. It's doubtful that Rivers would keep that from him, based on the relationship he has with his players, Pierce specifically.

What isn't clear is how hard James tried in getting Rivers there. Was it simply a, "Hey, we could use you!" in passing? Or was it more than that? Rivers is very popular among NBA players, and you'd have to assume he's gotten that stuff before.

Rivers was an integral part of the success of that team, and was a father figure to some of those players. Pierce grew under Rivers, and for James, perhaps his biggest rival, to try to take that away shouldn't sit well with him.