Doc Rivers: Clippers were best team in NBA for part of season


Doc Rivers wasn’t shy about sharing why he signed on as the Clippers’ new head coach at his introductory news conference Wednesday.

To win championships.

That’s the only reason he’s still coaching. And when he heard the Clippers were coming into the coaching-search fray, it intrigued him.

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“The reason I wanted this when it was made available is because of what they have and not what they don’t have,” Rivers said. “I clearly think this is an extremely talented basketball team. There were times last year they were the best team.”

Rivers boasted about the length and athleticism of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, and he has already reached out to point guard Chris Paul as well as many other players on the active roster. After nine years as the head coach of the Boston Celtics, Rivers said he was ready for a new challenge — but one he believes can result in immediate success.

Rivers said he went through his normal end-of-season routine after the Celtics were eliminated in the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs. He went back home to Orlando feeling a little burned out but without any plans of leaving the organization that he’d brought a championship to.

However, Rivers remained a bit more tired and weary than usual.

That’s when Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations, began exploring options for Rivers, whom he viewed as an asset as well as a coach. And when the Clippers came up, Rivers was immediately interested.

“The closer we got to this thing and if it could happen, the more I got interested,” Rivers said.

But there were multiple hang-ups in the trade process, and Rivers said he tried to remove himself from them. Ainge did most of the bartering on a deal that began to look as if it might never happen.


As of Sunday morning, Rivers and Ainge were actually discussing the rebuilding process for the Celtics roster. But by the evening, a trade agreement had been made and Rivers knew he was going West.

“This is truly one of the biggest moments in Clippers history,” said Gary Sacks, Clippers vice president of basketball operations.


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Twitter: @Stephen_Bailey1