“It’s not a place that I chose for him to go or a place that I wanted him to be.”
That was Celtics VP/GM/decision maker Danny Ainge at a press conference, talking about the departure of Doc Rivers from the Celtics. Since Rivers left Boston — and the Celtics got draft picks in compensation from the Clippers — there has been a battle of spin on how the exit went down.
Ainge has said they wanted to keep Rivers but that he wanted out, not wanting to be part of a rebuild. Rivers has said this was mutual and he had told Ainge he wanted to stay in Boston and it was Ainge who told him the deal was on and he was out.
Ainge made the above quote at a press conference, and here was Rivers’ response on WEEI Radio, as reported by A. Sherrod Blakely at CSNNE.com.
“I was very disappointed in that part of Danny’s press conference,” Rivers, now Senior Vice President of basketball operations and head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, said on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning. “Other than that, I have no issue. Danny knows just like I know, that that’s not true.”
Rivers added, “there were two people in that room, Danny and I. Anyone else who has a comment about what went on, doesn’t really know because they weren’t in that room; and it was more than one day, it was several days. It was an agreement. I’ll put it like that.”
Like any breakup, how it exactly went down and why is a matter of personal perspective.
And like any breakup friends will end up taking sides. In this case, that includes Celtics fans, who really have no choice but to side with the organization because that is where their loyalties lie.
I can’t wait until the season starts, although I’m not sure this puts this soap opera completely behind us.
The Spurs fell behind by 18 and eventually lost to the Bulls, 95-91, last night – which begged the question:
Does San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich bear any responsibility for his team’s lack of early intensity?
Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News:
I don’t remember playing tonight. I didn’t play. Guys get a lot of money to be ready to play. No Knute Rockne speeches. It’s your job. If you’re a plumber and you don’t do your job, you don’t get any work. I don’t think a plumber needs a pep talk. If a doctor botches operations, he’s not a doctor anymore. If you’re a basketball player, you come ready. It’s called maturity. It’s your job.
Like it or not, motivation is part of an NBA coach’s job.
But that’s also precisely what Popovich is doing.
His credentials dwarf any other coach’s. He can play to his own ego and absolve himself of responsibility – and players will seek to please him. His years of success have earned him the ability to motivate this way, a method no other coach could use without alienating his team.
Once the Rockets let Donatas Motiejunas back into free agency, this was only a matter of time.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
This sounds remarkably similar to the salaries and incentives set in the original offer sheet from the Nets. But remember, the Rockets didn’t match some of those bonuses that Brooklyn would have been bound to.
So, why not hold Motiejunas to what became a four-year, $31 million offer sheet once matched? Houston got something in return – a later trigger date on guaranteeing Motiejunas’ 2017-18 salary. Originally, that decision had to be made March 1 – which would’ve meant dropping Motiejunas from the team this season to prevent his salary from counting next season. Now, the Rockets can make that call in July, after this season is complete.
The following two Julys, Houston will also have a choice on guaranteeing Motiejunas’ upcoming salary or dropping him.
Essentially, Motiejunas is signing the most lucrative Hinkie Special in NBA history. If he plays well and stays healthy, the Rockets have Motiejunas at an affordable rate. If he struggles or his back injuries flare up, they can drop him with little to no penalty.
After they backed themselves into this corner, Motiejunas and his agent, B.J. Armstrong, didn’t do so bad. Considering the similarity between this contract and the Nets’ original offer sheet, it seems Houston helped Armstrong save face after a bungled free agency (which is easier to accept when you’re adding a talented reserve to a formidable team).
But for how little is guaranteed and how much control the Rockets hold over the next four years, wouldn’t Motiejunas have been better off accepting the $4,433,683 qualifying offer?
The Rockets had Donatas Motiejunas in a bind.
He was beholden to them on a four-year, $31 million deal and unable to sign with other teams. Motiejunas’ choices: Report for a physical or wait in limbo.
But apparently Houston has allowed him out of that constraint.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
This means Motiejunas can’t sign with the Nets, who signed him to the original offer sheet, for one year.
I bet it also means Motiejunas and Houston have agreed to a new contract. Otherwise, why release him from the offer sheet? The Rockets would be giving up a tremendous amount of leverage out of the goodness of their hearts – unless this is just a prelude to a new deal with Houston.
John Wall didn’t like how Jusuf Nurkic bumped him, so Wall shoved the Nuggets center from behind and sent him to the floor.
An overreaction to the bump? Probably. Wall got hit with a technical foul.
But I’m mostly just impressed Wall was strong enough to push over Nurkic.