We heard from former San Antonio Spurs guard Bruce Bowen last year that Doc Rivers had blown a 2000 free agency bid for Tim Duncan.
Bowen’s story was that Duncan had a fairly simple request, and when Rivers refused, that’s when the Orlando Magic lost their chance to pair Duncan with Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill.
Now, Hill has confirmed that story as a first hand witness. To boot, Paul Pierce said that Rivers changed his policy on allowing non-players on the team plane specifically because he lost Duncan.
The conversation starts at around 1:45 in the video above, but if you can’t watch it here’s what was said.
Hill: Not only have I heard that, I was there. I was at the dinner when someone in Tim’s entourage asked Doc, ‘Can significant others travel on the plane?’ And Doc said no.
Pierce: When Doc got to Boston, he allowed family to be on the plane. Yeah, he didn’t want to make that mistake again!
Rivers has had his fair share of criticism, especially when he had a dual coaching and front office position with the LA Clippers. Losing out on Duncan, though, probably takes the cake in terms of missed opportunities. Obviously with Hill significantly injured they would not have had a Big 3 but Orlando won 42+ games in each of the seasons following that summer.
Oh what could have been.