A head coach who was once a heady NBA point guard should be able to connect with and succeed with the smartest point guard in the league, right? Doc Rivers has won a championship with Rajon Rondo, has seen him become an All-Star, has been the only NBA head coach he's ever known. And yet Doc has apparently been trying desperately to flee a Celtics team that counts Rondo as its last star standing.
Chris Sheridan has a report about a purported near-fight between the two, and cites it as the reason for Rivers' exit strategy. That seems like an awfully cute way by someone to pin this on a player who is already known as tempestuous while letting Doc largely off the hook for his wanderlust. (Also, what sparked the supposed near-brawl? Was Rondo dropping an "f-bomb" on Doc? Like that hasn't happened before?)
Really, this was all that the whole Doc-devised saga has been missing: a way to pin it all on Rondo. Just like the Ray Allen departure (even though Allen pretty openly said he was not feeling very wanted by Danny Ainge's front office). I, for one, will be stunned if an anonymously-sourced report doesn't blame Rondo for the eventual waiving of Paul Pierce or trade of Kevin Garnett. Maybe Rondo will neglect to hold the door open for KG, leading to a Cold War that can only be solved by breaking up the team.
If Doc does go back to the announcing booth -- apparently the only option other than coaching the Celtics next season -- it'll be a horrible end to his run with Rondo. Doc reportedly isn't interested in coaching through a rebuilding phase. In leaking that info out, he's neglecting that he has Rondo. This isn't going to be the 2012 Bobcats. With Rondo, Jeff Green and a few other pieces, this team will be out of the playoff picture, perhaps. But it's not going to be dreadful. If the C's end up with DeAndre Jordan in an eventual Garnett deal ... that's not a horrid team. I mean, is a Rondo-Green-Jordan team worse than, say, the Raptors or Bucks?
Regardless, Doc isn't willing to stick it out with Rondo, arguably the best player Boston's had since 2010. That says more about Rivers than anyone else. He has a moody star, yes, but a player cut from a similar cloth to him, a player who thrives on boosting the production of his teammates, a fearless, heady point guard who has never backed down from a challenge. And what does Doc do? He backs down from the challenge.
Rivers can write his own destiny; there's no disputing that. But it's disappointing that as one of the better coaches in the NBA, he's unwilling to face this challenge ... and that someone is willing to drag Rondo through the mud on Doc's behalf.