Doc Rivers is long gone from Boston, but he is still fighting the perception that he abandoned the Celtics franchise in its greatest moment of need.
Rivers, in an appearance on The Dennis & Callahan Show on Thursday morning, disputed Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge‘s characterization of Rivers’ departure as the coach’s choice. Rivers maintains that his leaving was part of a larger organizational restructuring, which included the eventual trading of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
“Honestly, I was very disappointed in that part of Danny’s press conference,” Rivers said while promoting a charity event to be held Wednesday at TD Garden. “Other than that, Danny and I have no issues. Danny knows, just like I know, that that’s not true.”
After the Celtics released Rivers from the final three years of his contract to become head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, Ainge said: “It’s not a place that I chose for him to go or a place that I wanted him to be.” Rivers’ account of things at his introductory press conference in L.A. was very different.
The Clippers make their first and only visit to Boston this season on Wednesday, Dec. 11. It will be interesting to see how Celtics fans greet the coach who brought them Banner 17 but also left them high and dry when faced with the hard work of rebuilding.