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Saturday, June 29th, 2013 at 2:25 pm  |  11 responses

Jeff Van Gundy Says Doc Rivers Didn’t Quit On Celtics


Jeff Van Gundy defended Doc Rivers’ decision to leave the Celtics and cited his own experience in New York as an example of what quitting truly means. Via Newsday: “Van Gundy defended Rivers, saying what he did 12 1/2 years ago was worse. ‘I quit the Knicks, so I know what quitting is,’ he said. ‘I did it. I quit. And it’s something I regret to this day…I live with it every day and I regret it. I let my emotions come into it. I was just emotionally spent. I made a bad decision and I quit. Doc Rivers didn’t quit. He was allowed to pursue a better opportunity for himself. That’s a significant, significant difference that everybody’s glossing over.’ Van Gundy was with the Knicks from 1989-2001 as an assistant and head coach. He compiled a 248-72 record in parts of seven seasons as head coach but walked away after they started 10-9 in 2001. ‘I had a great job with the Knicks,’ he said. ‘I let…frustration overwhelm me…The frustrations were real, but it was certainly an overreaction. Like I said, I’m the only one to blame for that because I had a great, great job and I left it voluntarily.’”

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  • fivechainz

    How do you “quit” on a team when you’ve won them a championship a few years after they were one of the worst teams in the league?

  • Dagger

    By leaving for another team halfway through your contract because you don`t want to stick around for the rebuild. Past accomplishments don`t perpetually shield you from quitting in the future.

    The reality is that Celtics management signed a long-term contract with Rivers, making him the highest-paid coach in the league. Clearly they intended for him to oversee a rebuild. Ainge has said as much; the Celtics wanted Doc to be the next Red. Clearly Doc didn`t want to be a part of that rebuild, once it was actually staring him in the face.

    With that in mind, Ainge figured out a way to leverage some assets for his departure, and it more or less worked out for both the Celtics (less) and the Clippers (more). But, of course, Rivers DID quit to pursue a better opportunity. He has many friends in the media, so not everyone will acknowledge this, but it`s blatantly obvious.

    It`s fine to quit a good situation to pursue better employment, but what`s less impressive is Doc`s subsequent spin job, which is nicely broken down here: http://greenstreet.weei.com/sports/boston/basketball/celtics/2013/06/26/fact-or-fiction-doc-rivers-odd-call-to-boston-media.

    There`s no need to make up stories about journalists and your former employers to sugarcoat your departure. That`s just low.

  • spit hot fiyah

    ” He has many friends in the media, so not everyone will acknowledge this, but it`s blatantly obvious.”

    key phrase right there, everyone was just dancing around it. i know bill simmons is the biggest boston homer and has plenty of haters, but i’m kind of glad that he called doc out on this move.

  • OfftheWall87

    Agree with JVG. Personally hope he doesn’t go back to coaching. He and Breen together are great.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    FWIW, Jeff van Gundy never criticizes ANY coaches for anything.

  • Hart26

    Man, JVG was the last great coach NY had. Always got love for him, also one of the best commentators in the business.

  • Noompsi

    JVG’s honesty is what set’s him apart from his contemporaries. Not a fan of him as a coach, I thought he made some questionable decisions; but as a commentator and as a person (from what I can see in the media) he has reinvented himself, and consequently is a better man because of it.

    People change… look at LBJ when he came to Miami. He was a litany of ego, the desision, the proclomation, and by the way he acted against Dirk and co, made me go for the other team. Same with LAL in 2001… (another story). But after game 6, this year LBJ was resolute in his quest for a title… and I will pay that.
    Honesty is the way of the future… and I like it!

  • pposse

    im sick and tired of other coaches sticking up for ‘their own’ – Doc quit on the team plain and simple and he is not the 2nd best coach in the l. Someone pointed out how he lost 3 series when up 3-2 since 08. anyone who agrees with JVG on this is a complete fool. He’s a good coach, good motivator but now it should be plain and simple, he is a quitter. This will have reprocussions it always does.

  • MikeC.

    I’d miss him on the mic, but I wouldn’t mind seeing him back on the NY sidelines either. Sounds like grumpy pants is feeling nostalgic too.

  • Dfrance

    He also never criticizes ANY player he’s coached, especially big men. They were all perfect in their own way. lol

  • Dfrance

    I just don’t know what else to call it. He knew PP and KG were probably out of there and their run was over so he sought another opportunity elsewhere while under contract.

    I hate Bill Simmons’ guts, but he’s right about this.

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