More than a month after Doc Rivers’ Los Angeles Clippers were eliminated from the NBA playoffs, his old team still is playing.
The Boston Celtics, who launched a full-blown rebuild after Rivers left town in 2013, have reached the Eastern Conference finals just four years later under new coach Brad Stevens. Though the Celtics are unlikely to defeat the heavily favored Cleveland Cavaliers, they also own the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and should be contenders for years to come.
Meanwhile, Rivers’ new club, which plays in the much tougher Western Conference, has yet to advance past the second round. But despite this, the coach insists he doesn’t regret his decision to leave Boston.
“I can tell you I’ve given that like zero thought, and I’m being completely honest with you,” Rivers told the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett on Thursday. “To me, I had an amazing nine-year ride in Boston, and I’m so thankful for that, but I’m not greedy. … I guess we all are in life, but I don’t look at it in those terms. I really haven’t.
“Everything would be neat. (Expletive), it would be neat to be the coach of Golden State right now, you know what I mean? But I’m not, and I’m very happy with where I am. I don’t look back like that at things.”
Rivers said he isn’t rooting for either the Celtics or the Cavs — he has friends and former colleagues on both teams — but did say he’s thoroughly impressed with what Stevens, Danny Ainge and Co. have been able to accomplish in just a few short years.
“I’m happy for the Celtics, and I’m very happy where I’m at,” Rivers, who coached the Celtics to a championship in 2008, told Bulpett. “I did what I did for a lot of reasons, so I have no problem with that. Hey, it’s true. They’re in the conference finals, and we haven’t gotten there yet, and I don’t really care on my account. I’m not in competition with that. I’m happy for the Celtics and what they’ve been able to do.
“Boy, it’s amazing. It’s great. I mean, listen, I’m the coach and president of the Clippers, but I’m always going to be happy for guys I worked with and worked for. The way it’s worked out. I couldn’t be more thrilled for Danny and (assistant general manager) Mike Zarren and Brad. I think it’s just phenomenal.”
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images