Glenn Rivers is a good enough NBA coach. He's no Popovich, Jackson, or JVG, but relative to the 'Antonis and the Byron Scotts of the world, he's better than average. I have some fond memories of Doc playing for the Knicks, like when he hit 6 triples in a playoff game against Indiana. I have some unfortunate memories too, like when he called a timeout while running a three-on-one fast break because his leg started cramping up. Now, I hate the guy. Had KG and Ray Allen went elsewhere during the summer of '07, Doc would probably be hamming it up with Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith on TV. But we'll save the fury for another day.
All season we've heard that Doc was gonna take a year off to spend time with his family, most specifically to watch his prep superstar son, Austin, play a possible one-and-done year at Duke. That was the beginning of his scheme.
The Celtics started off strong, holding the pole position (probably the first and last NASCAR-related reference) in the Eastern Conference for much of the early going. However, his aging team suffered through fatigue, injuries, and a still-ridiculous mid-season trade of Kendrick Perkins.
Boston fell to the 3-seed to face YOUR New York Knicks, in a series that some thought would at least be very competitive. 2 things here: 1) I will avoid admitting when I'm wrong whenever possible, and 2) I am adamant that a fully healthy Bocker squad would have pushed a fully healthy Celtics team to 7 games.
Then came the Heat. 50% of the people who write for this blog picked the Celtics to lose, which they did rather quickly. Yeah yeah injuries injuries blah blah blah. Don't care. Not important right now. What is important is that everybody and their mother expected Boston to either win or at least make it competitive, so a 5-game drubbing seemed like a bigger disappointment than it really was.
So to put the plan in perspective:
1. Everybody already thought Doc was gone.
2. Celtics got progressively worse as the season went on. The loss of Perkins combined with Shaq's inability to walk led to another wasted year for the aging Celtic Hall-of-Famers.
3. It's looking more and more like Phil Jackson is definitely taking at least a year off. Rumors that Doc would be Kobe's Next Coach started running, even just to drive up the price.
Danny Ainge needed to do something. In this case, something = 5 years, 35 mil. Well played.