Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning, three days after agreeing to a five-year contract extension to remain with the team.
Rivers said that rumors he was contemplating whether to take a sabbatical from coaching so that he could spend more time with his family weren't accurate — at least not this year.
"Last year, they were probably more right," he said. "Last year I was absolutely leaning that way. This year I really never was. After last year's summer and going through the decision that we went through, I was pretty sure I was coming back and I was pretty sure I wanted to come back here.
"This is a special place. And I've said that before. You can't get a lot of these jobs where you coach teams like the Celtics, or the Red Sox, or the Yankees, and I have one of them. I work with a great GM in Danny Ainge and I have good ownership. So, why change?"
Rivers explained that part of the reason he finalized the deal so soon after the end of the season was to quash rumors that he was headed to another NBA team.
"I don't know where the 'going somewhere else' came from," he said. "That was all over, especially of late. That was one of the reasons I wanted to do this. I hear the rumors just like you guys, with all these different teams. My thing is, I have a special team, and I have a special group of players. Why change?"
As for coaching the Lakers: "That would have been strange. ... I had a philosophical, a big problem with [coaching them next season]. ... I couldn't do it. I told my agent that. That's something I can't do. I don't function that way," he said.
Asked about the possibility of facing a rebuilding process in Boston, Rivers said he felt obligated to see it through.
"I don't think anyone's looking forward to that, but I'm willing to do that," he said. "I had a group that has been very loyal to me. I think it would have been very easy for me to just run and go somewhere else and chase something else."
Added Rivers: "It would have been easier to do it the other way; I just don't think it's the right thing to do. Coaches talk about loyalty and team all the time. I just thought it was time to show it. And that's what I did."
Rivers said he would consider bringing any of the Big Three off the bench and that he wants to be more creative with the minutes he gives to veterans such as Kevin Garnett. He spoke highly of Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic, saying he wants both of them back, but was less complimentary about Glen Davis, who struggled in the playoffs.
Said Rivers: "I thought it was more in between his ears than his play. I thought the whole contract thing affected his play. I thought he had the wrong focus at times because of that. I think when you stray away from just being a team player and being the role that you're given, I think you struggle. I think all players do. And I thought Baby did that.
"I thought scoring was way too important to him, instead of being who he is. Baby's never going to be a great scorer in our league, but he can score. What Baby has to be is an energy player, a guy who takes charges."
That said, Rivers insisted he'd still like to see Davis return to Boston.
"Yeah, if we get him for the right price," he said. "I think it would be nice, but we can't overpay. That will be up to Danny and Wyc [Grousbeck] and them. That's one of the things I stay out of, at least I try to.
"We've got to get him back in the right frame of mind. And that's the way he was the last 20 games. Baby's a good basketball player. He can help us or any other team. But, to me, only if he plays the right way."
As for the future of Shaquille O'Neal, Rivers said he expects the 7-footer to retire.
"He's not said it definitively [that he's retiring]," Rivers said. "He's said it and then he doesn't say it. So, I think we'll just wait and see. I would say yes, but I don't know. I really don't know."
For a complete transcript of the conversation, check the Green Street blog later in the morning. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Celtics news, visit the team page at weei.com/celtics.
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