Celtics head coach Doc Rivers has not committed to returning to the team because he doesn't want a rebuild. A league front-office source told CBSSports.com Rivers has indicated that he "might be ready for a new situation."
ESPN reports Rivers is considering stepping down.
Despite ending the playoffs with three years and $21 million left on his Celtics contract, Rivers told the Boston Globe he'd "rather not say" if he planned to coach the team next season. His future could depend on decisions involving veterans Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and the recovery and evolution of Rajon Rondo.
Garnett may decide to retire. Pierce, who is under contract for more than $15 million next season, could be bought out for $5 million before June 30. While the departure of Garnett and Pierce could provide the Celtics with breathing room under the salary cap, it's likely that Rivers wouldn't want to take a step back in talent from a lineup that's consistently been a team to reckon with in the Eastern Conference playoffs. In fact, Rivers may want to see Garnett and Pierce come back, plus have the Celtics makes some roster upgrades if he is to return.
Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge are on the same page in wanting to avoid a rebuild of the Celtics, but it's not clear whether enough moves could be made to persuade Rivers to return for his 10th season as Boston's coach, league sources told CBSSports.com.
"[Doc] has been pretty open that he doesn't want to coach in a rebuilding environment," said a person briefed on Rivers' conversations with Ainge. "And if they make some moves, they're not going to have a rebuilding environment. That's Danny's challenge." Ainge, never wary of discussing bold moves, is in agreement with Rivers that a rebuilding of the Celtics' roster isn't ideal, sources said. But with an aging core and a payroll that is pushing up against the dreaded luxury-tax apron -- where the full mid-level exception, bi-annual exception and sign-and-trade acquisitions are restricted -- the Celtics' options are limited.