WALTHAM, Mass. -- Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was making his way to a makeshift podium Friday morning for an end-of-the-season press conference with reporters when his cell phone rang. Ainge politely excused himself, ducking into a nearby door, while joking that it was his next head coach.
Only Ainge wasn't joking. It was Doc Rivers, who had just landed back in Orlando, delivering the good news that, after ironing out a few final details, he and the Celtics had agreed to a five-year contract extension.
"I think Doc is the best coach in the league, so I think it's great for us, to have him around," said Ainge.
After the Celtics fell to the Lakers in the 2010 NBA Finals, Rivers took some time to ponder a potential coaching hiatus before agreeing to a one-year deal to return to the Celtics. Ainge said this current contract offer has been on the table virtually the entire time and Rivers, Ainge, and ownership held occasional conversations about a long-term agreement during the 2010-11 season.
Then at the start of the postseason, with Rivers' coaching future still uncertain and the topic of much speculation, those talks kicked into high gear.
"Doc has always known that we've wanted him and that offer was on the table," said Ainge. "I would say that, early in the playoffs, as the playoffs first started, we started that conversation again. He understood it was important for me to know what he wanted to do, because [the offseason] is a long process and there's a lot of things going on in the summer. He spent some time with his family and made his decision a little earlier this time."
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