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.”