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Doc Rivers on The Big Show: Calling himself a Celtic for first time was ‘great feeling’

06.23.11 at 6:21 pm ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined The Big Show Thursday afternoon for the first time since signing his five-year contract extension after last season. He told the guys that the thought behind the extension was Rivers’ willingness to not only give it another go with the team he had in place but also future teams whatever they may be.

“[Celtics GM Danny Ainge] and I had been talking all year,” Rivers said. “I told him my thoughts early on and so I think that gave Danny the belief that I was going to be here or not coach for a year or two. It was going to be one or the other. It’s a good place. I just thought for me, so much movement and change and chasing different teams if you know what I’m saying, when we were bad, they were very loyal to me. We hopefully have at least a year to go after this one more time with the older guys and then eventually we’re going to have to make changes. I think I need to be a part of that as well.”

Here’s more highlights of that interview, including Rivers’ thoughts on Glen Davis and what the C’s need heading into next season.

On getting into the Bruins:

I enjoyed it. I didn’t know what I was watching.

On four Boston coaches each of whom has won a championship since 2004:

This group of coaches, we do have a good camaraderie. I went to Game 6 [of the Stanley Cup finals] and I went because of that. I just thought I should go. I had a ball. My young son went and for him who had never seen a hockey game, saw scoring like no other in the first five minutes. He thinks this is how hockey should be played all the time.

On taking a picture with the other three coaches:

I agree with that. Somebody actually asked me we should all have our rings or trophies and stand there and do something for charity. “City of Champions” or something. That would be pretty cool.

On what brought him back to Boston:

Danny and I had been talking all year. I told him my thoughts early on and so I think that gave Danny the belief that I was going to be here or not coach for a year or two. It was going to be one or the other. It’s a good place. I just thought for me, so much movement and change and chasing different teams if you know what I’m saying, when we were bad, they were very loyal to me. We hopefully have at least a year to go after this one more time with the older guys and then eventually we’re going to have to make changes. I think I need to be a part of that as well.

On the timing of the extension announcement:

I decided, one and I thought it was important, we had just lost the series. I thought some people may assume that we would break the team up, that I was leaving. At the time, everyone was celebrating everything else and I thought it was a good time to let everyone know how I felt, that I was staying. I believe that it’s nothing wrong.You try to tell your players to be something, to be a Celtic. I think it was time for the coach to say the same thing as well.

On calling himself a “Celtic”:

I may have [before], but I don’t know if I have or not. I don’t remember ever saying that. But you feel that way. Danny knows this, I couldn’t stand Danny and that whole group, [Larry Bird]. … You always felt like they felt they had something more special than everyone else. They didn’t even come to players association meetings and you notice that. It is called arrogance. I told Danny this story, one of the players in Portland looked at me and called me arrogant. ‘You’re arrogant because you’re a Celtic’ or something like that during the game. And I was thinking ‘No! I’m one of them now.’ It was a great feeling. And I was thinking, ‘You know what, that’s exactly what I am.’

On rebuilding process:

It’s no fun. I’ve been through it twice. [But] I trust the guy I’m working for. I think Danny is as good as there is in this league. [Wyc Grousbeck] and that whole group of ownership, they’re going to spend. We have to find the right guys to spend it on, but they’re going to do that. I trust that. I tell my wife, who’s great at this, and she was saying, ‘Yeah, you can leave and you’re going to get another job. You’re going to go work for one of these teams offering another job. But Danny’s not going to be there. You’re not going to know anybody, and you’re not going to have it the way you have it.’ She kept saying that all year. I think what she was really trying to say was, ‘Please don’t come home.’

On Glen Davis:

The thing with Big Baby, he had a great first half of the year, his first three months. I wish we could have kept him there because he was in such a nice place. Somehow he got away from that, and we couldn’t get him back. And it’s not just him. I always say it’s the coaching staff. We never got him back to that place, and you saw what happened when he didn’t get back to that place.

On Davis thinking he’s something he’s not:

I think a lot of people do when you win. I’m told our group after we won it, we went out and searched for a lot of coaches and players on what I had to look forward to the next years to come. Michael Jordan was the best by far. He said, ‘Your stars will be easy. They play their role all the time. They’re stars. Everyone else, it’s going to be difficult. You’ll be amazed at how hard it’ll be to get guys to get back to who they should be to help themselves mostly but also the team because they’re going to be treated like those stars and they’re going to want to be that.’ I think that’s been very true.

On what the team missed last season:

Three things. Number one, size. Not having [Shaquille O'Neal] healthy was huge for us. It was a big loss. The second thing, losing Tony Allen. I love him. We needed a stopper. We didn’t have a guy where you could say at the small positions, the one, two and three, ‘Go shut him down.’ We lost that in Tony Allen. The third thing we have to add, we have to keep adding the shooting. Shooting, as you can see, I kept saying before the Dallas series, I picked Dallas. It didn’t look good. You could make the case that Miami should’ve won the first four games. But I kept saying if they start making shots like they’re capable of, this series is over because Miami, they don’t have enough shooting to handle that. I think we have to add a few shooters.

On where you find these missing pieces:

Through a trade, through a free-agency signing. Listen, we don’t need a star. We already have those. We need a role-playing big that can run the floor. I have names but I can’t give them to you. … There are people you can get to improve your team next year.

On what effect the other Boston teams have on the C’s:

There is a presence in that. There’s no doubt about that. Our building has been our building even though it’s their building. There is that. You know what the Patriots are doing. The Red Sox, you keep tabs. It’s not like you’re competing against them. You’re competing with them. I wanted to be part of that. Watching that parade, my goodness. You want to be part of that again. This city, they embrace winners, probably New York would. They just haven’t done it in awhile. But there’s very few cities, Chicago, that’s it really. LA, they know how to win. Those three cities, if you can win in those cities, it’s pretty special.

On what to expect in the draft:

Danny’s good. Listen, I was the 31st player and I never forget that. There’s guys, it’s a crapshoot, number one, when you get down this low. But Danny’s staff, they’ve been working all year, they know what we’re looking for. I actually think there’s a couple of guys that we’ve worked out who can help us. Maybe they’re gone. That’s the problem with being 25. You just never know. You don’t look for the world. You look for a role player.

On Greg Oden vs. Kevin Durant in 2007 draft:

Well, I always said Oden. Danny says Durant so I’m going to go with the boss.

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