Ainge wants Rivers to take his time

Updated: June 23, 2010, 6:09 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Boston Celtics director of basketball operations Danny Ainge told ESPN.com Wednesday that he wants coach Doc Rivers to spend more time on his decision whether to return next season.

Ainge said Rivers is still down after Boston's Game 7 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals last Thursday and that he didn't want Rivers to make an emotional decision.

Rivers was in Waltham, Mass., with Ainge on Wednesday for a draft workout.

"I don't want him to make a decision too soon," Ainge said later Wednesday on Boston sports radio WEEI (850 AM). "Doc is one of the great competitors around. [Losing to the Lakers in Game 7 of the NBA Finals] was really tough, but he sees the bright side of what this team accomplished and it's more than he probably thought. Still, it's really hard, a coach invests so much more than the players.

"He left it on the table. He needs some time to get himself right before he even makes the decision.

"I just want Doc to make the right decision," Ainge continued. "I don't want him to second-guess the decision he comes up with. I don't know if he'll make a decision early next week, but I know he'll get together with his whole family for the first time to discuss the issues."

Rivers said Monday on WEEI that although he had not made a decision, he was leaning in one direction, though he did not say which way.

Rivers, who is weighing whether to return to coach the Celtics for the final year of his contract, said he and his family will discuss his plans for the future in about a week.

If Rivers does move on, Ainge said he wouldn't rush to name a replacement.

"If [Rivers] chooses to move on, I will take a long time to make that decision," said Ainge, noting he did have people in the back of his mind who could potentially coach the Green. "I don't think it needs to be done quickly, it needs to be done right. I'll take months if we need to."

Andy Katz is a senior college basketball writer for ESPN.com. ESPNBoston.com Celtics reporter Chris Forsberg contributed to this report.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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