Rivers: 'I'm leaning heavily toward coming back'

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Rivers: 'I'm leaning heavily toward coming back'

MIAMI -- The Celtics were beaten soundly by the Heat in Game 5 on Wednesday night, 97-87, but Doc Rivers still loves the core of his team and believes it can win. He loves it so much, he's already leaning toward returning as the Celtics' coach next season.

"I'm leaning heavily toward coming back," said Rivers in his postgame press conference. "I haven't made that decision, but I can tell you I probably will. I've kind of come to that over the last couple of weeks. I'm a Celtic, and I love our guys.

"I want to win again here. I do. I'm competitive as hell, I have a competitive group. And so well see. But I can tell you that's where I'm at today. Tomorrow I may change my mind, but that's where I'm at today."

Though injuries plagued the Celtics down the stretch, and though many believe this season was the Big Three's last legitimate shot at a title, Rivers said he thought otherwise.

"These guys aren't done," he said. "We need to add some pieces, but I love those guys in the locker room."

With green ink visible on his fingers, Rivers elaborated on his future and got emotional.

"I love our guys. I love 'em. I love the people I work for. It's tough . . . We'll see. That's we're I'm at for sure. Thanks, guys," said Rivers.

As tears welled up in his eyes, the Celtics' coach left the room.

Paul Pierce said Rivers' presence with the team would be vital if the Celtics were to make another run at a championship.

"Doc is very important in my opinion," Pierce said. "It's huge if we're trying to move forward, trying to be back next year and win a championship, he's one of the main pieces coming back."

Rajon Rondo joked with reporters that he saw Rivers sign a contract soon after the game ensuring Rivers would be back in Boston next season. Rondo laughed, but he seriously did not want to picture his playing career without Rivers as his coach.

"I don't even want to imagine," Rondo said. "I really want him to come back. Hopefully he can."

Did Suns ask Josh Jackson to cancel his Celtics workout to keep him from Boston?

Did Suns ask Josh Jackson to cancel his Celtics workout to keep him from Boston?

Danny Ainge made no secret of being miffed when Kansas small forward Josh Jackson canceled his workout with the Celtics in Sacramento at the last minute. 

The Celtics, of course, passed on Jackson and selected Jayson Tatum of Duke with the third overall pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday night.

Suns GM Ryan McDonough's comments at Jackson's introductory press conference lend some credence to the theory that the canceled workout was part of Phoenix's plan to keep the Celtics from selecting Jackson and leave him for the Suns at No. 4.

Check out this portion of Jackson's presser via a tweet from Mike McClune of KPHO-TV: 

"I think you guys who know me well know how competitive I am. Look, it is a competition," said McDonough, a former assistant GM to Ainge with the C's "The Celtics were ahead of us at No. 3 and they could have selected whoever they wanted to. I think they got a very good player in Jayson Tatum, but that doesn’t mean B.J. [Armstrong, Jackson's agent] and I and...other members of my staff couldn’t talk and try to formulate the best plan to get a player we were really high on to a place we felt he really wanted to go and would be a great fit for him.

"We played by the rules – I guess,” McDonough said to some laughter in the room.

Jackson will certainly get more playing time with the rebuilding Suns that the contending Celtics. Ainge called Jackson "a terrific kid and a good player” after the draft, and said the Celtics were set on Tatum all along, even if they hadn't traded the No. 1 pick.

Jackson said his decision to blow off Ainge coach Brad Stevens and assistant GM Mike Zarren after their cross-country flight was "last-minute" and his plans to work out "just didn't work out."
 

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Is trading for Paul George worth the risk?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Is trading for Paul George worth the risk?

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0:41 - Michael Holley, Kayce Smith and Tom Giles recap their thoughts on drafting Jayson Tatum and trade rumors involving the Celtics.

6:21 - Ian Thomsen joins BST to discuss if it would be worth trading for Paul George as a one-year rental and if there would be a chance he could still around long-term if traded to Boston.

11:13 - Evan Drellich joins BST to talk about Rick Porcello’s outing, the Red Sox offense coming to life, and Doug Fister being claimed by the Red Sox. 

15:10 - Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely look back at the Celtics/Nets trade, what the assets have turned into, and if Danny Ainge has done a good job turning those assets into players.