This is an article from the July 8, 2013 issue
Los Angeles traded an unprotected 2015 first-round pick to the Celtics for the right to hire Rivers as coach, then signed him to a three-year, $21 million deal. He had spent nine seasons in Boston, winning the title in 2008.
DAN PATRICK:How's L.A.?
DOC RIVERS: I'm on my way to see your friend Al Michaels at a certain place. So L.A. is good.
DP:Ah, you're going to play golf. Do you get nervous on the 1st tee with people watching?
DR: I could shoot 100 free throws with hundreds of thousands of people screaming. I get on that 1st tee and I'm shaking in my boots.
DP:Does going to the Clippers make you nervous?
DR: It's a huge challenge. The Clippers have won two playoff series [in the 29 years] since they've been in L.A. My goal is to win four series in one season.
DP:You weren't happy on draft night with ESPN's Bill Simmons for accusing you of quitting on the Celtics. Explain your side.
DR: [Boston] wanted to unload contracts for draft picks. I happened to be one of those contracts.... Clearly I had a selfish motive. I had a chance to not rebuild and go to a team that is in a different phase. Everybody benefits. This was done together. This isn't me walking in and saying I quit.
DP:As for Simmons?
DR: Bill is a fan. Is he qualified to do the NBA? We can debate that all day.... I rarely respond, but I had enough of that. It kind of ruined the broadcast because he kept bringing it up.
DP:How did the conversations go with [Celtics G.M.]Danny Ainge before the trade?
DR: Danny and I discussed what was out there. Danny wasn't sure if I wanted to come back. I had been there quite a long time. I kept wondering, Is my voice being heard and will it be heard through a rebuild? When [trade possibilities] came up, I told Danny, "Look and see what you can get."
DP:Did you ever get close to fighting Rajon Rondo in Boston?
DR: I hope I'm smarter than that. I know I'm a big guy, but I don't think I'm going to fight an NBA player at this point of my life. I had some fights when I played. But those days are over.
DP:How heated did it get with Rondo?
DR: Once, maybe twice, [things] exploded in the locker room. It happens with a lot of players. It does happen. But my relationship with Rondo is terrific. When the news was consummated, we exchanged texts.
DP:What impact will Kevin Garnett have on the Nets?
DR: When you bring Kevin Garnett into a basketball team you have an immediate culture change. It's going to be an amazing transformation.
DP:Can they beat the Heat?
DR: I don't know. I have to worry about the West for the first time in my coaching career.
DP:Have you talked to [Clippers] free agent Chris Paul?
DR: I try to talk to him every day.
DP:Do you talk to Paul more than your son Austin [a Pelicans guard]?
DR: [Laughs.] Right now, yes.
Former Ravens coach Brian Billick explained why they didn't cut Ray Lewis when he was charged with murder in 2000—unlike the Patriots, who released Aaron Hernandez last week. "We had a great deal of faith in Ray," Billick said. "As we [found out] the sequence of events, that faith grew and we were able to stand by him." ... Cody Zeller, who was picked fourth by the Bobcats, shared his weirdest predraft question: "One of the psychologists asked me how many basketballs would fit in the room [we were in] and my thought process behind [my answer]." ... Nerlens Noel talked about the left knee injury that may have caused him to drop to No. 6 in the draft. "I think I could dunk," the seven-footer said. "But I wouldn't try to. I'm being careful. When my physical therapist says I'm ready to dunk, I'll dunk." ... Former Blackhawks center Jeremy Roenick said he missed the Stanley Cup--winning goal because he was en route to interview the Bruins for NBC and was stuck in an elevator: "I get out and [Chicago had] scored two goals in 17 seconds. I've never been so angry watching a Stanley Cup final."