The older Kevin Garnett looks, the more banged up Paul Pierce gets, the more likely it seems Ray Allen won't be back and the more ornery Rajon Rondo becomes, the more Doc Rivers has to wonder if this is the right time to walk away from the Celtics.
Indications out of Boston suggest he is considering it. Danny Ainge approached Rivers, who has one year left on his contract, during the season to open talks about an extension and Rivers declined. Rivers talked about his family as a main consideration for stepping down as coach. He has a son, Jeremiah, who will be a senior at Indiana; a daughter, Callie, who will be a senior at Florida, and then there is his younger son. Austin, who will be a high school senior, is one of the top point guards in the nation. He has committed to Florida.
Doc Rivers told the Boston Herald, "Every year I sit down in the middle of the summer and I have a family discussion. We talk about what we want to do. That's nothing new, but every year it gets stronger and stronger, and I think people are making some common-sense reads."
When the story came out, however, Rivers quickly downplayed the notion that he was thinking about leaving the Celtics, who play the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs.
"It's a non-issue for me right now," he told The Boston Globe. "I think a lot of people on the outside have made their own conclusions on what I'm thinking . . . The bottom line is I am a father and I have kids and that's always going to be an issue for me. It was when I took the job. So that'll never go away. My kids are doing very well, they're very happy, they're well-adjusted, probably because I'm not home every day. Things are going well, so we'll make that decision when it comes."
Will the direction in which the Celtics appear to be headed be more of a motivating factor? The team, just two years from its championship season, seems to be declining quickly. Garnett, the heart and soul of the team, has lost a great deal of his athleticism and effectiveness after knee surgery. Rondo is a major talent on the rise, but word is he has become increasingly difficult to coach.
Rivers went through a 58-loss season in 2006-07, just before the blockbuster trades turned things around dramatically. Does he really want to endure another rebuild? "I think the demise of the Celtics may be greatly exaggerated," Rivers told the Herald. "People think this is it, and I don't think anyone in our office feels that way. But as far as I'm concerned, I can tell you I try never to make a decision in the season. That's the worst time. You're emotional either way about it."