Austin Rivers has always grown up in the public eye. He's been the son of the Celtics' head coach for the last six years, and he's risen to power recently as one of the biggest high school basketball stars in America. So when it comes to saying the right things in the media, the kid generally knows what he's doing.
So when he drops a bomb of a comment about his father's future career plans, he probably had some sound reasoning behind it.
Austin, when asked earlier this week about the job status of his father Doc Rivers, gave a surprisingly specific answer that might ruffle a few feathers back in Boston.
"He still has one more good year in him," son said of father, speaking to Yahoo Sports' Marc Spears. "I want him to go out there and do what he loves best."
I'm sorry — did he say one?
Speculation has abounded about Doc's future all summer, ever since a Boston Herald report on the last day of the regular season suggested that the C's coach might step down to spend more time with his family. Austin was as big a reason for that as any — as he heads into his senior year as one of the most sought-after prospects in the country, he was hoping his father would be around to catch a game or two.
Doc's been in a difficult position. He's been at the helm in Boston since 2004, having taken over at a time when the C's were a fringe playoff team in need of a shakeup. He's been around through thick and thin — he was here in '07, when they lost 58 games and went down as one of the worst Celtic teams ever, and he's been here for the last three years, leading a title contender.
It's truly rare in this game, for coaches and players alike, to have a chance to go out on top. Doc had that chance this summer, and he passed it up, proving his loyalty to the franchise that's shaped him into one of the NBA's elite coaches.
In so doing, he passed up the perfect chance to see his kids shine. His eldest son, Jeremiah, is entering his last season as an Indiana Hoosier, and his daughter, Callie, is a volleyball star in her final year at Florida. Austin is a standout shooting guard at Winter Park High in Florida, and he's got his pick of all the nation's top programs — Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA and the local Gators.
It doesn't make sense for Rivers to walk away next summer. If he can coach through this, despite all the reasons to walk away now, he can coach through anything.
The Celtics' window to win another title is open for more than one year. At least two is the hope — that's why Danny Ainge signed Ray Allen, Jermaine O'Neal and Nate Robinson all to two-year contracts this summer, matching the two years that Kevin Garnett has left on his current deal. The C's nucleus is intact such that they'll be contenders through the summer of 2012.
But Doc Rivers is a part of that nucleus too — the most important part, you could argue.
Kids say the darnedest things. For the Celtics' sake, it would be nice to believe that Austin Rivers doesn't know the whole story about his dad's future in Boston. Let's hope that father knows best.
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