Doc may take a timeout

MIAMI Maybe, with Kendrick Perkins in the middle and Rajon Rondo with two healthy elbows, the Heat would be facing elimination tonight instead of the Celtics.

As it is, Boston is staring at three wins to stay alive, a tough task, and keeping Doc Rivers as coach, tougher still.

As ESPNBoston.com writer Peter May pointed out, Rivers could be coaching his last game on the Celtics bench tonight, and it is the rare example where a coach would leave on his own free will. Really, now: When’s the last time a playoff team begged a coach (besides Phil Jackson) to stay, and offered him millions, and the coach said no thanks I’d rather take some time off? And be better off for it, in the long run?

Yes, this is a wonderfully unique situation Rivers finds himself in. He almost left last summer, but after speaking with his family, decided to return for this, the final year of his deal. Rather than accept an extension, Rivers said he will have another pow-wow with his folks first, and I suspect the conclusion will be quite different this time.

If you’re Rivers, why return to the Celtics? They’re a good organization, make no mistake. But in the big picture, a break will do Rivers better. He can make up for half his income by doing TV, and Rivers is terrific behind the mic or in the studio. He can allow his batteries to recharge. He can watch his son, Austin, play as a freshman at Duke and his youngest child, Spencer, finish up high school. He can allow the NBA owners and the union to hammer out a labor contract first, which could change the dynamics of certain teams.

And then: He can become the hottest free agent coach in recent years, if not in history.

Rivers is the rare coach who is respected by all: players, general managers, his assistants, fans and the media. He has the gift of relating to anybody: the rich owner, the star player as well as the 12th man, the insecure GM and the aggressive media. You spend a few minutes with the man and you like him. Players want to play for him, and that’s the biggest compliment anyone can give a coach.

Once the Celtics formed the Big Three, Rivers showed what he could do with talent. He immediately led Boston to a championship and you could argue that, if not for injuries (to Kevin Garnett in 2009 and Perkins in Game 7 last summer) Boston would have at least one more title under Rivers.

Really, it shouldn’t be a tough decision for Doc. He can enjoy life and his family for a year (or two) while waiting for the right job to open. As in, find out where Dwight Howard is going.

Lawrence Frank, Doc’s assistant, would take over and the Celtics would be in decent hands. But there is uncertainty because change is on the horizon, with contracts ending for Garnett and Ray Allen after next season, forcing the Celtics to look for a new identity.

The first change, however, will be made by Rivers. A change for the better.

21 Comments

  1. Law064 says:

    @Rose ther Heat are coming I’m here and yes Miami pulled off the series they were the better team. They’re not the better team but in that series they were better. Boston blew game 4 and 5 with TO’s that were unforced by the way and most of all poor execution. No excuses Miami out played the celtic’s in the 4th in game 4 & 5. There’s no way Boston can win that series? You sound very foolish, game 4 could’ve tied the series and game 5 could’ve put Boston up 3-2 but the Celtic’s blew it. I give Miami they props, I have to say Lebron 3 last night was a dagger and the heat came thru late. Don’t think that Miami is the better team but in that series and how both teams played they were the better team. Miami fans enjoy this victory it will get harder and the Bulls & Hawks have a chance to beat Miami in a series but anything can happen Memphis has showed us that this year even falling last night they still have a good shot at beating OKC next game. Boston you have hit the end of the season time to rest and look at all those thrown away balls that could’ve meant at least getting up a 50/50 shot. The Celtic’s still fought with who they had but they didn’t score for 3 or 4 min final min at that. Don’t worry Rose the Heat coming I’ll be here until the season is over my Hometown Bulls still in it

  2. ROSE THE HEAT IS COMING!!! says:

    @BOSTONFTW soon we will prove it to you as what we did in the 1st and second round,,

    Even if BOSTON have a 2 DOC RIVERS in the next season still they can’t win a championship again coz the big three in 2008 finals are now the BIG OLD THREE..

    Please stop your excuses C’s fans and please try to move on,as what I’ve said a 100times before the PLAYOFFS starts there’s no way the C’s can win this matchup..

    by the way where’s HEATSUCK and LAW064, i still remember you guys why ur not here..

  3. booooooooooooooooooooston back next yearrrrrrrrrrrrr

  4. HeatWave says:

    Doc should come back. He’s got too much chemistry with the players to leave it to someone else. Good effort by Boston tonight. Had me on the edge of my seat.

  5. lb6 says:

    celtics sucks! they have gone fishing and went to brokeback mountaint with the lakers! Garnett and Bynum are two of the dirtiest players in the NBA. Kobe and Pierce chokes, fisher is old rondo will get old quickly, MIami ftw baby :D

  6. Usuck says:

    Goodbye BOSTON.. :)

  7. ABimael says:

    Rivers fail, whata was the need to bring Krstic, Green and Arroyo in late season trade? He should rest Rondo, Allen, Oneal, Paul and KG, he didn’t use this resource when he should and now when they are most needed he ain’t got one single regular player healthy!

  8. Aleksandar says:

    PLeaseeeeeeeeeeeee stop comenting Perkins trade is what made the celtics vulnerable to the heat. It isn’t. Tony Allen is what cost the celtics. They lost their wing defender and didn’t replaced him during the offseason/trade deadline.

  9. lambo says:

    yeah im a lebron fan and i still believe that perk trade was stupid…like lebrons decision…..but his lebron’s decision is taking him where he wants to be at ….but get rid of ainge and try to land another big man and hopefully we will see you guys next year in the playoffs but a full strength that way the heat can say we beat yall at 100% healthy

    • Bostonian Excuses says:

      I’m so tired about hearing about maybe this , maybe that and they could have won. The Celts core has been together for 4 years. The Heat didn’t have D-Wade in training camp, Udonis was hurt in November and Mike Miller also missed a lot of time and is still playing hurt. The Heat have played essentially this season without their 4th and 5th best players. I don’t hear them making excuses about this and that. Celtic fans and dumb basketball analysts need to wake up and stop making excuses for injuries its part of the game.

      • bostonftw says:

        ok..i understand where u r coming from…and there shouldnt be any excuses…
        they have one title..thats it…2008…
        but heat …apart from wade..has zero…
        you should talk after they won something…2nd round isnt much if u cant win it all…
        lebron promised 7 championships…please prove it…
        and id love to see a 2008 celtics vs 2011 heat…

      • Usuck says:

        GOODBYE BOSTON..:)

  10. Lev Manson says:

    Good luck to your game tonight. Doc and Celtics is always on my heart. Just pray and work as a team.

  11. Lee says:

    Boston would have had a 3-peat if it wasn’t for injuries or they should have had a better chance of getting Miami if it wasn’t for the trade to Perk, im a boston fan and i’v always disagreed in tradind Perk, Ainge should have waited till this season was over so they would have a better chance for the ring, Doc was also not in favor in trading Perk, and so was his teamates, KG even mentioned his disbelief on the news on the trade, anyway i like Doc since his days in Orlando, his philosophy and approch to the game is unique, he should take a break and think things over.. his a Hall of Famer for sure.. Boston should try to get a big man to replace KG after next season, try to land Howard, Love or Aldridge

  12. atan says:

    ainge make the biggest trade in boston what a stupid decision… its crazy…

  13. Levin Garnett says:

    Doc is one of the best coach when making a from starters to bench players an option whether down the stretch or after tip-off. That’s one thing I’ll never forget about him, especially how he handled the ORIGINAL BIG THREE. I just hope its not yet the end of Doc

  14. ray08 says:

    Doc, you are a hall of famer in my book…….enjoy ur time off…..and once u r ready to be back, come back to boston……by then lets hope Danny Ainge has made up for all the shocking sins he made this mid season…..hope austin does great in Duke…….

    • Paul232 says:

      Couldn’t have said it better myself.. Let’s hope he comes back to Boston after the break.