By A. Sherrod Blakely
The Boston Celtics had plenty of reasons to try and lock Doc Rivers up to a long-term deal, including keeping him from being a target of their biggest rival - the Los Angeles Lakers.
Phil Jackson kept his word and stepped down as Lakers head coach after they were swept in the second round of the playoffs by the Dallas Mavericks.
On Wednesday, the Lakers hired former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown.
If the Celtics had not signed Rivers to a five-year, 35 million contract earlier this month, there's a very good chance the Lakers would have made a run after him.
Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck cited that among the many reasons why the C's brass felt the need to offer Rivers a long-term contract instead of something shorter.
"I just looked at him, with my partners . . . we don't want to be interviewing a bunch of other guys," Grousbeck said to WEEI at a charity event for the Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund. "This is a guy, we'd like to have him stay."
The C's didn't get Rivers' deal done until after the Celtics were eliminated by the Miami Heat in five games, but Grousbeck said on Wednesday he would have liked to have had it completed sooner.
"I thought we should have done it the week off, between New York and Miami," Grousbeck said. "Get it done so we're not in a bidding war with the Lakers and everyone else at the end of the season."