Celtics coach Rivers accepts new five-year deal

BOSTON, (Reuters) – Doc Rivers has agreed to a fresh  five-year deal to remain head coach of the Boston Celtics and  take the franchise into a new era, the NBA team said yesterday.

Rivers’s existing contract was set to expire at the end of  this season and he had initially planned to take a break from  coaching to watch his son play college basketball.

However, the 49-year-old changed his mind after Celtics  president of basketball operations Danny Ainge approached him  before the start of the playoffs about a possible return.

“I think Doc is the best coach in the league, so it’s great  for us to have him around,” Ainge told reporters at the team’s  practice facility. “Doc has always known that we’ve wanted him  and that offer was on the table. As the playoffs first started,  we started that conversation again.”

Ainge did not disclose further details of Rivers’ new deal  but local media estimate the contract extension to be worth $35  million.

“Doc wants to be here,” Ainge said. “It’s not all because  he thinks that over the next five years we’re going to have the  best team in the NBA.  “He’s part of this franchise … and he’s willing to do  whatever it takes to help us be successful.”

After the Celtics were eliminated from the Eastern  Conference semi-finals in five games by the Miami Heat on  Wednesday, Rivers had said he was “leaning heavily” toward  coming back.

“I haven’t made that decision, but I can tell you I  probably will,” he told reporters. “I’ve kind of come to that  over the last couple of weeks. “I’m a Celtic … and I love our guys. I want to win again  here, and I’m competitive as hell. I have a competitive group,  so we’ll see.”

An NBA All-Star as a player with the Atlanta Hawks in 1988,  Rivers led the Celtics to the 2008 NBA championship and also to  the 2010 Finals where Boston were beaten by the Los Angeles  Lakers in seven games.

By committing to a new five-year deal, he will be able to  rebuild the team as the era of dominance by the ‘Big Three’ of  Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen draws to a close.

“To help Kevin, Ray and Paul, we just have to add talent,”  Rivers said. “We relied on those three to carry the load for  years, but we can’t do that as much any more.”

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