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Rivers: ‘I was … leaning heavily’ toward leaving

07.28.10 at 10:05 am ET
By
Doc Rivers (AP)

Doc Rivers (AP)

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he was “leaning heavily” toward taking a sabbatical after this past season, because he was “spent” after the draining campaign and he wanted to spend more time with his family.

In an interview with ESPN’s Andy Katz at a high school tournament in Orlando where his son was playing, Rivers said of the Celtics’ injury plagued, up-and-down 2009-10 season: “It was just a tough year, literally a tough year.”

Despite the Celtics coming within a quarter of winning the NBA title, Rivers said after the season, “I was spent,” adding, “I was most likely leaning heavily the other way — more because of [watching sons Austin and Spencer play].”

Rivers said when the season ended, he was “pretty much done, and Danny [Ainge] knew that.” He said he called coaching legends Pat Riley and Larry Brown for reassurance before committing to returning. “It was very helpful,” he said. “They’ve all been through it.”

Rivers said he consulted with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, then free agents, as well. “I wasn’t coming back unless they were coming back,” Rivers said. “I was first, and I thought that was important for them. We all talked. I can tell you that. I made sure. I knew they had to do their business. And Ray scared me a little bit with the money out there. They had said they were coming back and then you see what everyone was getting.”

Rivers signed for one year and still is considering a sabbatical as an option in the future.

“I’m just doing it year to year,” Rivers said. “Danny was great. [Co-owner] Wyc [Grousbeck] offered a long-term deal, but I didn’t think it was fair to them. I didn’t want to walk out of a contract.”

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