Doc Rivers Press Conference Live: Clippers Believe They Have Best Coach in NBA, Ready to Get to Work

Doc Rivers2:30 p.m.: Too short and bittersweet, Doc Rivers’ introductory news conference as head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers was a lot like his tenure as head coach of the Boston Celtics.

After nine years on the Boston bench, Rivers was officially introduced by the Clippers on Wednesday. He faced only a few questions, and no biting ones about his messy breakup with the Celtics. He did admit that he thought the negotiations were dead more than once, and that the on-again, off-again nature of the talks left his wardrobe lacking.

Amid all the normal platitudes about being excited and thanking the Celtics for his time there, Rivers offered the money quote that gets to the heart of why he is now in L.A.

“It’s nice to do a lot of winning,” he said. “It’s nice to be ‘the winner.’ That’s why I’m here. At this point in my life, that’s all I’m interested in doing.”

His meaning is pretty obvious. Rivers feels he can be “the winner” with the Clippers. He didn’t think he could be that anymore with the Celtics. And so, he’s gone.

2:23 p.m.: The key man in this whole process was not Rivers, but Chris Paul, who pushed for the Clippers to get the deal done even after both the Celtics and Clips appeared content to let it go.

Not surprisingly, Rivers and Paul have already spoken. Rivers did not outline the details of their conversation, nor did he specify which of his former and future players he has spoken with. But it’s safe to say he has talked with most of the key players from the Celtics.

“I’ve had a lot of phone calls of late,” Rivers said.

There is not a lot of time to dwell on memories, because Rivers and the Clippers need to get to work preparing for the draft. The Clippers have the No. 25 pick in Thursday’s draft, and they could be one of many teams looking to move their pick.

Just don’t ask Rivers what the Clips plan to do.

“I’ve been here 12 hours, and we’re already talking about drafting players,” Rivers said. “So there’s a lot of work to be done.”

2:19 p.m.: Asked whether he thought the chances he would go to L.A. were over a few days ago, Rivers said, “Yeah.”

Rivers said he “pulled out” of the negotiations over the weekend, assuming a deal would not get done. It was not until Ainge called him Monday, he says, that going to the Clippers became a reality again.

Rivers seems to believe the culture in the Clippers organization has changed. He feels it’s actually farther along than it was when he came to the Celtics in 2004.

“There was a belief that people wouldn’t come to Boston when I got there, and we changed that,” Rivers said. “That’s already changed here.

2:15 p.m.: Roeser is playing coy. He’s not very good at it.

The Clippers are playing the “what’s the big deal?” card, with Roeser saying he would have preferred to keep the negotiations private, but trying to frame it as just another team hiring just another coach under normal circumstances.

“I don’t understand what the fuss is,” Roeser said. “It’s not the first time we gave up a first-round pick for [Rivers]. We do hope it’s the last.”

Nice try.

Roeser is referring to the 1991 trade that sent Rivers from Atlanta to L.A., which was sort of different.

2:12 p.m.: Rivers really wants to keep the discussion away from his leaving Boston and more on his coming to Los Angeles. He is having mixed results.

Three of the first four questions related to the deal and the days that preceded the deal being finalized. Someone finally threw him a life preserver and asked about the Clippers’ roster.

“This is an extremely talented basketball team,” Rivers said. “There were times last year they were the best team. The question now is, can we do it in the playoffs?”

2:08 p.m.: Wearing a gray polo shirt, Rivers seemed almost apologetic about not coming better dressed for the occasion.

“I hope this is the last time I’m the center of attention here,” Rivers said. “I mean that. It’ll be about the players. This was a strange ordeal over the last couple weeks. As you can see from my attire, I have no suits. They’re all in Orlando.”

To nobody’s surprise, the talent on the roster — which Rivers considers championship-caliber, although we disagree with him — was what attracted him to the Clips.

“It’s nice to do a lot of winning,” he said. “It’s nice to be ‘the winner.’ That’s why I’m here. At this point in my life, that’s all I’m interested in doing.”

2:04 p.m.: Clippers G.M. Gary Sacks got things started by telling everyone what they already knew: The guy to his left is Doc Rivers, and that guy is now head coach of the Clippers.

“We feel he’s the best coach in the NBA and the perfect guy for this situation,” Sacks said.

Sacks and Rivers are joined on stage by Clippers president Andy Roeser, who began his comments by thanking Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.

2 p.m.: Rivers is scheduled to take the podium shortly. He promised to answer everyone’s questions about his departure from the Celtics, but he may not answer all of those questions here. The Clippers have called a separate conference call with Boston media later this afternoon.

Expect the Clippers’ news conference to feel a lot more euphoric than the autopsy on his Celtics tenure that will be done in the conference call.

1 p.m. ET: In about an hour, it will be official. Doc Rivers will be introduced as the head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers.

He will also be the senior vice president of basketball operations, gaining official input on personnel decisions he always had in Boston, albeit in an unofficial capacity. He will be able to put together a plan to utilize Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and — presumably — Chris Paul, who is expected to re-sign as a free agent after pushing hard for the Clips to hire Rivers.

Most of all, Rivers will have a chance to give his side of how things shook out in the last two weeks. Celtics fans will be listening intently, but if you are not able to watch the news conference, follow along here for updates.

The news conference is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. ET.

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