Rivers: 'I think you saw why' I left the Celtics

Rivers: 'I think you saw why' I left the Celtics
June 28, 2013, 6:30 pm
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Times are a changin', but Doc Rivers sure ain't sticking around to see any of it.

He's gone to L.A., "traded" for an unprotected first-round pick in 2015.

But one big question remained unanswered after Rivers hopped a plane to the Coast earlier this week and took a head coach / VP of player personnel position with the Clippers.

Why'd you do it Doc?

Of course, the question has been asked before. Danny Ainge gave his side. Rivers gave his. Neither one of them made much sense when you compared them to each other

Well, Rivers was asked again Friday on 98.5 The Sports Hub's Felger and Mazz Show his thoughts on the fans who feel he quit on them and the team.

Finally, Rivers may have answered the question about as truthfully as he will: He didn't want to go through the rebuilding process here in Boston. 

"I'm not going to be in the business of trying to convince people why," Rivers said. "I think you saw why today, or yesterday in the draft. I think people really don't understand what completely was going on, and I had an opportunity because of what was going on."

Relax, Kelly Olynyk, this isn't about you. Rivers was obviously referencing the trade that sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn. When asked specifically if that's what he was referring to, Rivers changed the subject and discussed false reports instead.

He then put it back on the Celtics, saying that all Ainge really cared about was draft picks, regardless of who they came from.

"I told Dan Patrick today and I said it over and over, the bottom line was the Celtics wanted draft picks and they wanted to drop contracts, and I was one of those contracts," Rivers said. "If I had been willing to come back, they would have absolutely accepted me back. But . . . I really believe that they wanted to get out of it. And it was a great win for me as well."

Ainge said on numerous occasions that the Celtics wanted Rivers back. He even said publicly that Rivers would be back. It's true that Ainge did want to trade Pierce and Garnett for draft picks (he never said he wanted Pierce or KG back), but the idea that he wanted to trade Rivers for a draft pick doesn't add up. 

Rivers knew he wouldn't be coaching Pierce and Garnett next year -- not on the Celtics, anyway. But the idea of coaching them somewhere else, say with the Clippers, was intriguing. Reports of both Rivers and Garnett shipping out there were true, until the NBA stepped in. Even so, Rivers said that there was still hope back then it could work out. 

"Yeah, listen, and we didn't know for sure until after the trade," Rivers said. "I think even into the trade we still all thought that we probably could do business and just figure out a different way of doing it. It wasn't until the trade kickers were basically signed that we found out that you can't do any deals with the Celtics for a year. So that was disappointing obviously. I talked to Kevin today, and I talked to Paul, and you know how I feel about them. So that was really, really disappointing."

But it was too late by then. Rivers was in too deep. Maybe he didn't burn his bridge completely with Ainge -- so they're saying -- but it was hard to believe he could just come back to Boston after. He was a Clipper now.

Still, Rivers insists on justifying the departure by saying the C's and Ainge got something out of it too. 

"I think he got exactly what he wanted. He wanted to drop contracts and he wanted draft picks," Rivers said. "For me, he dropped a contract, he got draft picks. For Kevin, Paul, and [Jason Terry] and whoever else was in that trade, he did the same thing. And it didn't bother me, I understood that. And for me, I get to coach a team that has a chance. We have a lot of work here. To me it was a win-win. 

"It was clearly not the way I thought I'd end my run here in Boston, but when this opportunity presented itself, I would bet that if you were in this position, or whoever else, they would have to look at it. I did that and it was the right thing to do."

So he says.