Celtics fans worry about Doc Rivers' future

Kevin C. Cox

Doc Rivers might step down as the Celtics coach. He might come back for another season. Celtics fans are left in the lurch, and boy, are they lurching.

Whether or not Doc Rivers decides to come back as the Boston Celtics head coach is entirely up to him. And for fans of the team, it's nothing but nerve-racking.

On Sunday, Rivers spoke to the media and basically said nothing (via Boston.com), with the gist that he'd let the media know sometime in the near future whether or not he would come back for a 10th season as Boston's coach or whether he'd quit. On Monday, A. Sherrod Blakely of Comcast SportsNet New England said that Rivers was scared of a rebuilding process, with the status of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett also up in the air.

The wonderful crew over at CelticsBlog has passed nail-biting and gone into hair-pulling. Their stream on whether or not Rivers is coming back is comprehensive, and features some combination of panic, faux-panic, and exasperation. They are WAITING in all-caps, and can't even properly speculate because there isn't enough actual information out there.

With all that said, Doc might just be the best early indicator of what's coming next. Which is why I'm watching his words like a hawk. Or is that a do-do bird?

tick tick tick

(is that a clock or a bomb?)

Their most recent post is more optimistic, thinking Doc wouldn't torpedo his squad and pointing out past instances where Rivers has said he'd wait out rebuilding:

My gut tells me that Doc is coming back and a lot of that comes from my confidence in Danny Ainge's confidence that he's coming back. With the coaching carousel spinning out of control this summer, you would have to think that Danny would be active in a coaching search if Doc was even remotely considering cutting his five-year extension with the team short. We haven't heard word one about Danny reaching out to anybody.

Rivers has considered calling it quits before, after the 2011 season when his squad lost in the conference semifinals. But he came back, signing a five-year, $35 million deal that still has $21 million remaining.

After earning Coach of the Year in his very first season in charge of the Orlando Magic, Rivers was initially disliked when he made the move to Boston a few seasons later: a first-round playoff exit and two years with dismal records. Then Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen showed up, and alongside Paul Pierce, they won an NBA Championship, appeared in another NBA Finals, and pushed the Miami Heat to within one game of another berth last year. But Allen is now gone, and 2013 spiraled out of control as Rajon Rondo went down with a season-ending injury, followed closely by bench cogs Jared Sullinger and Leandro Barbosa. The best the squad could muster was two wins against the Knicks in the first round before an early exit.

With Garnett and Pierce aging, there aren't many years -- if any -- left in the Celtics squad that was fearsome for the better part of the last decade. It's up to Rivers to decide how many last hurrahs he wants to partake in.

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