Ainge on Big Show: Doc ‘needs some time’
|06.23.10 at 6:30 pm ET|
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge talked with The Big Show Wednesday afternoon about the Celtics offseason, and one of the big topics of discussion was Doc Rivers and his decision whether to stay on as coach or leave for family reasons. Either way, Ainge believes that Rivers should take his time in making his decision.
“I know everybody wants to speculate, but the reality of it is he has not made a decision. I don’t want him personally to make a decision too soon,” Ainge said. “I know that Doc is one of the great competitors around. I think that it’s really tough on him with the loss. He sees the bright side of what the team accomplished, and it accomplished more than he probably thought a few months ago and all the things we just discussed. I know that it’s still really hard. A coach invests so much more than the players in my opinion, and he invests a ton and left it all out on the table. So he needs some time to get himself right before he makes a decision.”
Below is a transcript of some of the other highlights from Ainge’s interview. To hear the entire interview, go to The Big Show audio on demand page.
Have the Phoenix Suns contacted you about their GM job as was reported by Sports Illustrated?
No, they have not. I have a contract, and I love what I’m doing. I love the people I work with. I have a great relationship with the ownership, and we have still things to accomplish here. So that’s just a rumor that has no substance.
Has Doc Rivers told you of his decision?
No, he has not. Doc has not made a decision. I know everybody wants to speculate, but the reality of it is he has not made a decision. I don’t want him personally to make a decision too soon. I know that Doc is one of the great competitors around. I think that it’s really tough on him with the loss. He sees the bright side of what the team accomplished, and it accomplished more than he probably thought a few months ago and all the things we just discussed. I know that it’s still really hard. A coach invests so much more than the players in my opinion, and he invests a ton and left it all out on the table. So he needs some time to get himself right before he makes a decision.
How much legwork have you done in case Doc doesn’t come back?
There’s obviously names. Just like you look at players, you always have coaches in the back of your mind as well. But this situation’s really unique because we were in the middle of the finals and [former Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau] would have been a candidate for us, someone we would have spent time and discussed and figured things out with the coaching. But because we’re in the middle of the finals, I didn’t want to get even in that process. And because I don’t want Doc to leave, I don’t want to get involved in that process yet. If he chooses to move on, I will take a long time to make that decision. I don’t think that decision needs to be done quickly. It needs to be done right, and we will take months if we need to.
Is it likely that you will offer Ray Allen a deal to come back?
Yes, I think that that is the most likely scenario. I mean, we love Ray. I know Ray has basketball left in him. We just have to make wise financial decisions moving forward, knowing that Ray’s going to have other options. Ray still has basketball left in him so he can be a difference maker, and that’s winning or losing.
Is Rasheed Wallace definitely retired?
Well, it’s not official, but Rasheed has indicated to everybody, even before the season concluded, that this would be his last time, his last season. I think that Rasheed had indicated that physically he wasn’t able to do what he wanted to do. He has a home in Portland, Ore., and he loves it out there. I think he’s just looking forward to the next chapter of his life. So I think this is the last season for Rasheed, but nothing’s official yet.
How do you supplement what you’ve got with length and rebounding?
Well, hey listen, we got outrebounded 10-0 in the first quarter of Game 7 on the offensive boards. They had 10 offensive rebounds to our zero, and we were ahead by nine points. They shot 32 percent. They got the rebounds. One reason they got so many rebounds is because they shot 32 percent and so there’s a lot of good things going on up there. I think that our offense melted down. That team’s only going to score probably 75 points if we don’t have to foul. They end up scoring 83 in the game. If we don’t have to foul in the last minute a bunch and put them on the line more, the defense was pretty spectacular.
So what I’m saying is when we did rebound, we outrebounded them in three of the games, and the three games we won we outrebounded them. So I don’t think it’s just rebounding. Their length had a lot to do with our inefficiency on offense, but you can’t combat that with length unless it’s quality length. So there’s just so much talk about that stuff. That’s not why we lost because of length. They’re really good. Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum were really good players in that series against us.
What do you need in terms of players to put you over the top next year?
Well, first of all, of course I’d like to bring the team back, but that’s not a given. They have options to do other things, and we have to be wise on rebuilding our team and who we bring back to our team. I think that obviously right now with Rasheed retiring and [Kendrick Perkins] injured, that would be where we would start, at the center position. That’s what we need to fill. We have to do that wisely. We can’t just fill it. We have to use the money that we may have and the rosters, and that’s where as we redo this roster we use our money wisely moving forward and how we spend it because we can’t just go get centers. We may have to trade for a center. We may have to sign a center in free agency. It doesn’t look like there’s going to be a center that’s going to make a big difference for us. We’re drafting 19th and 52nd in the draft. We still have the rights to Semih Erden, who’s from Turkey and his team won the championship over there. He’s over an over seven-foot center that has some potential.