Doc Rivers believes Paul Pierce‘s choice in free agency came down to the Clippers and the Celtics, as the Clippers coach/executive said Wednesday and as Jay King of MassLive.com relays. That would mean the Wizards, with whom Pierce spent last season, finished no better than third.
“I think he wanted to go one of two places. He wanted to come back [to Boston] or he wanted to finish his career at home where he grew up, and I think it’s really cool for me that I can be a part of that,” Rivers said.
Those comments came while Rivers was in Boston for a charity function, so location perhaps played a role. Regardless, Rivers had plenty more to say about Pierce, the Clippers, the Celtics, and other topics, as we’ll round up here:
- Pierce, who signed with the Clippers for the full value of the taxpayer’s mid-level exception, was the team’s priciest free agent addition, but Rivers said he’ll use him judiciously, notes Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com. Rivers isn’t guaranteeing a starting spot for the 17-year veteran who turns 38 next month. “Paul will be great. Paul, I don’t want to overuse him. I know that,” Rivers said. “So, I don’t even know how we are going to use him yet. I want to play him at [power forward] a lot. What I want him to be is healthy in the playoffs. So however we can figure that out, that’s what I’m going to try to do.”
- Rivers said he and Ray Allen recently played golf, but the Clippers executive added that he didn’t try to convince Allen to sign with the team, tweets Scott Souza of the MetroWest Daily News. The Clips were one of several teams that reportedly attempted to lure Allen this past season, when the shooting guard instead lingered in free agency.
- Rivers said the collective trust the Celtics players had in coach Brad Stevens was readily apparent after last season’s flurry of trades, Souza also observed (Twitter link). An ESPN panel recently tabbed Stevens as Boston’s No. 1 reason for optimism about the C’s.
- The Magic, another of Rivers’ former teams, have a shot to make the playoffs this year, Rivers said earlier Wednesday in an appearance on Mike Bianchi’s Open Mike radio show on 740 The Game in Orlando, as Bianchi transcribes in the Orlando Sentinel. Rivers praised new coach Scott Skiles. “I think he’s a wonderful coach,” Rivers said. “I think he was a great choice for the franchise. I think people will be surprised with how well they do this year.”