Boston Celtics to Reportedly Consider Vinny Del Negro if Doc Rivers Leaves

“Worst.Idea.Ever.” That, more than likely, is what Boston Celtics fans are thinking this very moment. According to the Boston Herald, the C’s will strongly consider replacing Doc Rivers (if he bolts, perhaps to the LA Clippers) with Vinny Del Negro: “Two league sources with direct knowledge of the situation confirmed yesterday that if Rivers does indeed leave, former Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro will receive serious consideration as his replacement. Clippers management, known to be interested in Rivers now that his reluctance has become public, was denied permission to talk to him earlier this week, according to one of the sources. Celtics management has now denied two teams permission — the Clippers and Nets. Memphis is also said to be interested, though Grizzlies management has not approached Ainge. But Rivers’ prolonged deliberation has forced Ainge to at least consider alternatives. The Celtics president of basketball operations is an admirer of the Springfield-born Del Negro and his up-tempo philosophy, even if Del Negro reportedly didn’t mesh with his biggest star, Chris Paul. ‘As a stopgap for that situation, sure,’ said one source. ‘Vinny would be the perfect person for what they need. All of the all-star coaches, or whatever you want to call them, are going, and knowing how Danny feels about him, (Del Negro) would be a good fit.’ Though Ainge could also turn to a member of Rivers’ Celtics staff as a short-term solution, that course of action is said to be secondary. But the Celtics are unlikely to pay much for their next coach. Rivers signed a five-year, $35 million contract two years ago, making him the highest paid coach in the NBA. San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich averages $1 million less per season than Rivers. ‘Vinny made about $1 million in his last year with the Clippers, so he’s affordable. That’s the way the league is going. Some of these guys, like (Ryan) McDonough, are being paid like head scouts,’ the source said of the former Celtics assistant general manager, who is now Suns GM. ‘The trend is going that way with coaches, too. Vinny would be the perfect coach for that situation.’ Ultimately, though, the source expects Rivers to return for one simple reason — the Celtics are the only team willing to pay him that annual $7 million salary. ‘I don’t think (Rivers) can take a pass on that money,’ he said. ‘If I were him, I’d want to come back and then get fired. Nine years really is a long time to be in one place.'”