Doc Rivers still has not publicly committed to returning as head coach of the Boston Celtics next season and, asked Sunday by the Boston Globe whether he was still in the decision-making process, Rivers wrote in a text message, "I’d rather not say.”
While Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has bluntly suggested that Rivers will return for a 10th season in Boston, Rivers hasn't stopped speculation that he could walk away by offering a public commitment. Rivers, who has three years and $21 million remaining on his contract, takes time after each season to assess his future. While he's debated taking time away from coaching in the past, he signed a five-year, $35 million extension after the 2010-11 season and said he was committed to the potential long-term reshaping of the Boston roster.
An Orlando Sentinel columnist had breakfast with Rivers last week and wrote simply that the coach was still, "mulling over his options for next season." Rivers has been in Boston in recent weeks to help out with pre-draft workouts and planning for free agency, but has seemingly left the door open for a change of heart by not declaring his intentions.
After the New York Knicks eliminated the Celtics from the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, Rivers said of his future, "I'm coming back until I say I'm not."
Sources told ESPNBoston.com last month that the Brooklyn Nets were denied permission to speak to Rivers about their coaching vacancy. Ainge said at the time, "Doc has told me he's coming back. I talk to him almost every day about our team and what we are going to do moving forward."
Pressed by the Globe on when he might talk about his future, Rivers said simply, "Soon."