Doc Rivers Has No Objections to New Orleans Name Change, But Thinks It Should Be ‘Jazz’

Doc RiversBOSTON — After this season, Austin Rivers will no longer be a member of the New Orleans Hornets.

No, the rookie guard out of Duke is not on the trading block, but the son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers will be joining his teammates on a newly named team with a new color scheme as early as next season. Ladies and gentlemen of the Big Easy, meet your New Orleans Pelicans.

As goofy as the name sounds, the coach said he has no objections to his son playing for a team named after a seagoing bird. If it were up to him, though, New Orleans’ current NBA franchise would reacquire the name of its former franchise, which has since relocated.

“I just like that he’s playing on a team,” Doc Rivers said. “Pelicans, Brass, come up with another name, I’m all for it — should be the Jazz.”

Maybe it should be, but it won’t be. Utah Jazz owner Greg Miller has been adamant that his club will retain the nickname it has used since moving to Salt Lake City in 1979. The Jazz nickname might seem like an anomaly to outsiders, but it has become part of the identity of being a fan in the Beehive State — just like the Lakers name has in Los Angeles.

(Talk about a name that makes no sense. At least there are jazz radio stations in Utah. Los Angeles has a few bodies of water called lakes, but those are really reservoirs or what most of us would consider ponds.)

Anyway, Austin Rivers will stay employed, whatever the team is named, so he should be happy — at least until the first time he has to slip on a jersey with “PELICANS” sewn across the chest.

Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here.

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