Danny Ainge: "I think Doc'll be coaching the Celtics" next year.

USA TODAY Sports

Danny Ainge, speaking Thursday to sports radio in Boston, didn't directly address reports that the Nets (and Clippers) might be interested in Doc Rivers, but said he expects the Celtics coach will be back next season. Rivers has three years left on his Celtic contract. That hasn't stopped a number of pundits, most recently Stephen A. Smith, from suggesting Rivers might be an ideal choice for the Nets. Smith told SNY Tuesday "Expect the Boston Celtics to receive a call [from the Nets] for permission to talk to Doc Rivers."

"I think Doc'll be coaching the Celtics" next year," Ainge told WEEI radio when asked where he thought Rivers would be next next season. Ainge would have to agree to let the two sides talk and then could demand compensation from the Nets if Rivers decided he wants to join Brooklyn.

Ainge did address another Smith rumor, that he and Rivers may not be on the best terms, a development which if true could affect the Nets situation. "You'd have to ask Doc," Ainge told the Salk and Holley Show when asked about the rumor "I think I have the best coach in the NBA, and I'm not the least bit tired of hearing his voice."

Specifically, Smith had told WEEI Wednesday that there are "some questions in NBA circles as to whether or not Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers desire to continue to coexist," that they might be tired hearing each other's voices.(Smith also said in that interview that he doubted Ainge would let the Nets have Rivers. "You’re not going to do it for Brooklyn or probably anybody within the Eastern Conference."

Reacting to Rivers quote at season's end that he will have to take some time before committing to another year as Celtic coach, Ainge said it happens every year, that coaching is "very, very draining. every year, he's had ot go home and re-charge. After a couple 92's on the golf course, he usually comes back."

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