Sorting through Doc and Danny

Sorting through Doc and Danny
June 26, 2013, 7:15 pm
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Now that Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers have both spoken publicly on the chaos that led to their break-up, we should probably just leave the story alone. After all, nothing that anyone says or does at this point will bring Doc back to Boston. And both sides have more important things to worry about than the past.

Not to mention, for the most part, it appears as if their relationship is still relatively intact. Even if there’s a little bitterness on both sides, that’s the expectation when something like this happens. Bottom line: Doc and Danny aren’t Theo and Larry. They share far more mutual admiration than hatred.

But if there’s one thing that they can’t seem to agree on, it’s the chick-or-egg theory as to which side put this whole thing in motion and/or who’s to really blame for Rivers ending up with the Clippers. Did Doc push Danny’s hand? Did Danny push Doc’s? Do I really want to go down this road? Not really, but here it goes anyway.

Given everything that’s been said, here’s a very brief reenactment of how we got here:

1. The season ended, and Ainge was counting on Doc to come back to coach the Celtics next year and every year for the foreseeable future.

“My feelings are – I had planned on Doc being our coach all along,” Ainge said Tuesday. “We had discussions about him being a Gregg Popovich, Jerry Sloan, Red Auerbach, breaking Red Auerbach’s all-time win record for the Celtics and being here a long time.”

2. Doc Rivers wasn’t so sure that he wanted to be here anymore.

“I told Danny, I just don't know if my heart's in the rebuilding but I don't know it's not,” Rivers said Wednesday.

Cryptic.

3. Faced with the reality of potentially losing his coach, Ainge decided to be proactive. He wondered out loud to both the Clippers and his coach as to whether there was mutual interest.

“In subsequent weeks,” Ainge said Tuesday, “conversations started as [Doc] still had uncertainty as to what he would do. We had a conversation and him and I, as friends and partners over the last nine years, and a guy who I really trust, we had a conversation where we discussed the possibility of him trying to get the Clippers job. There were other teams that were interested in hiring Doc; we didn’t allow any of them to talk to Doc. But the Clippers were one that intrigued him a little bit.”

After that, the negotiations began . . . and Wednesday, they finally ended.

So, who pushed first: Doc or Danny? I’ll say Doc. Danny never would have contacted the Clippers if Doc wasn’t so uneasy about coming back.

That said, ultimately, I think it was Danny who pushed harder. While Doc may have been content to sit on his indecision and ultimately come back ("I had no plans on leaving," Rivers said, “I enjoyed where I was at."), Ainge took that seed of indecision that was festering in Doc, and set out to spin in it into something valuable.

In this case, an unprotected first round pick.

Not too bad.

Meanwhile, Doc Rivers is now the coach and senior vice president for a Western Conference contender.

Not too bad.

So who’s to blame for all this?

I guess you can say both of them.

But I’m just as inclined to say neither.