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Clippers Excited to Play for Doc Rivers
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On June 24, 2013 @ 8:00 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Alex Kennedy, USA TODAY Sports
Players were following the on-again, off-again negotiations with Boston for Rivers, reading that he was in the mix for the job along with candidates such as Byron Scott, Lionel Hollins and Brian Shaw.
Now that it’s settled, and Rivers will get a three-year deal worth $21 million to coach the team — with the Clippers giving up an unprotected 2015 first-round pick so that Boston would let Rivers out of his contract – the team can move forward.
“I think the Clippers organization is showing that they’ll do whatever they think needs to be done to put us in a position to compete for a championship,” Clippers guard Jamal Crawford said in a text message to USA TODAY Sports. “Obviously, Doc is one of the top coaches in the league and has championship pedigree. This should be fun!”
Rivers and the Celtics won the NBA title in 2008 and played for it in 2010 (falling in seven games to the Los Angeles Lakers).
“Proven winner,” Clippers center Ronny Turiaf said in a text message to USA TODAY Sports. “Love the holistic approach to the game of basketball. I still have nightmares about losing to him in 2008 in the Finals.”
Rivers’ team defeated Turiaf’s Los Angeles Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals, winning the series in six games.
If there’s any doubt that this is a blockbuster hire for the Clippers, consider that Rivers is one of four active head coaches who has won an NBA championship along with Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs, Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat and Rick Carlisle of the Dallas Mavericks.
Rivers could be an upgrade from the recently fired Vinny Del Negro, who served as the Clippers’ coach for the past three seasons. Not only did Rivers coach the Celtics to an NBA title in 2008, he kept the team in contention in recent years despite dealing with devastating injuries and aging stars. He has coached his team to the playoffs in 10 of his 13 full seasons, and he has a career winning percentage of .554 in the regular season and .529 in the postseason. He won the NBA Coach of the Year Award in 1999-2000.
“From what I hear, he’s a great man that demands respect, one of high character [who] stands on principle,” Clippers forward Caron Butler said in a text message to USA TODAY Sports. “He’s a great player’s coach and he rewards hard work. I’m glad he’s here. Hopefully we all can have our fingerprints on bringing a title to L.A.”
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